FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Tens of thousands of people are on a waitlist to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in St. Lucie County, officials said on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, demand is greatly exceeding supply," said County Health Administrator Clint Sperber during a news conference in Fort Pierce. "Supplies are short right now."
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Sperber said, at this point, St. Lucie County is using a first-come, first-serve system to notify people who have registered when they can receive the vaccine. They'll be notified through email and the Alert St. Lucie system, Sperber said.
The Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County is currently administering the COVID-19 vaccine to people 65 and older, health care workers with direct patient contact, long-term care facility residents and staff, and people deemed to be "extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers."
Sperber said that since Jan. 9, the county has vaccinated more than 6,500 people at mass vaccination clinics at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds.
"We will continue to do our best to notify the public when there are additional vaccine mass clinics throughout the county," Sperber said.
Health officials said Florida receives a weekly allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government. However, not every county in Florida gets doses each week.
That's why Sperber said it's important for residents to sign up for updates through Alert St. Lucie to find out when more mass vaccination clinics open up.
"Once we receive vaccine, we need to push it out," Sperber said. "Our COVID numbers are the highest that we've seen since the pandemic started."
Health officials in St. Lucie County said they're looking into other registration systems for people to make appointments.
"It's a process. It will take a lot longer than any of us want because vaccines supplies do not come in as quick as we can get them out," Sperber said.
According to the Florida Department of Health, 7,879 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in St. Lucie County.