WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As many seniors have expressed their frustration about Publix's COVID-19 vaccine registration process, WPTV arranged to have a Publix representative help ease some concerns.
Maria Brous, director of communications for Publix, spoke with WPTV's Ryan Hughes on Thursday afternoon to help navigate you through the process, answer questions and offer tips to help you along the way.
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Brous said almost 300,000 people tried to make appointments to receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine Wednesday morning, and she anticipates those same numbers when the next appointment window opens Friday at 6 a.m.
Brous highlighted two new features added to Publix's vaccine website this week -- a countdown clock and a list of available appointments by county.
She said the countdown clock eliminates the need to refresh the page.
"So having the countdown clock helps our customers see there is something actually happening and the page will refresh automatically," Brous said.
Brous also touted the list of available appointments that customers will see when the registration window opens.
"As the page refreshes, they'll also see whether appointments are available or how many appointments, and if there are no appointments available in that county, it'll say 'fully booked' when all appointments are taken," she said.
5 tips for navigating Publix's COVID-19 vaccine registration website
Pack some patience.
"There are simply not enough vaccines for all of the demand that we have across our operating area," Brous said. "There are so many seniors that would like to get the vaccine and it's simply a supply-and-demand issue right now."
Brous said more than 37,000 seniors successfully received appointments Wednesday.
"As vaccines become available, more appointments will become available," she added.
Brous recommends that customers have their medical information accessible before they try to make an appointment. She also suggested that they consider where they want to go or would be willing to go to get a vaccine.
"Appointments vary by location, so not every single location will have exactly the same amount of appointments and, if you're in different counties, you may be willing to drive or cross over into another county to receive a vaccine," Brous said.
Update your browser.
Brous said having the most updated version of whatever browser is being used to make the appointment "is absolutely essential."
Appointments are limited to 4.
Each individual can make up to four appointments at any one time.
"But remember that for every appointment, the demand is so great," Brous cautioned. "So for every one appointment, there are at least 10 other people trying for that same appointment."
Know that Publix is constantly making changes.
Brous said Publix has a team working day and night to make changes to its website, taking into account customer feedback.
"We want it to be simple for our customers," she said.
Step-by-step registration process
- Go to the Publix vaccine website and select the state. In this case, it would be Florida.
- When the registration window is open, you'll be directed to a waiting area with the countdown clock. You'll also be able to see how many appointment slots are left at each participating county in Florida.
- If a slot open up for you to book an appointment, you'll then be taken to another page where you can enter your personal information, and also select which Publix location you want to get vaccinated at.
- Keep in mind that appointments may fill up in a certain county, like Palm Beach County, meaning you would have to possibly go to a neighboring county to receive the vaccine.
- "As the screen changes, you will follow, ultimately remembering, once you book your appointment, that you have to accept and do the checkmark at the last page and confirm, and once you hit the 'confirm' button, that's when you have a secured appointment," Brous said.
5 questions about the process
Is Publix capable of handling the volume of requests?
Brous said yes.
"We have more pharmacies that could offer vaccines, but we need more vaccines in order to have more appointments," she said.
Do I need to use multiple devices to increase my chances of getting an appointment?
Brous said it's not necessary.
"As we allow people into the next phase, folks have to be finished making their appointment," she said. "As they exit, then we enter the next group of customers that are coming in."
She cautioned that using multiple devices "takes the place of another person that's actually trying to get in potentially."
Are there any other ways to make an appointment?
Not at the moment, Brous said, but among the "list of considerations" is the possibility of a telephone number and expanded sign-up hours to be staggered at different times of the day.
Currently, all registration windows are on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 a.m.
What about the second shot?
"If you had your vaccine at Publix, our process is that four weeks later, at the same Publix, the same day of the week, the same time that your original appointment was, you will have your second dose of Moderna issued at that same Publix pharmacy," Brous said.
What do I do if I get an appointment and need to reschedule?
"They would have to go back online to our reservation system and go through the process of reserving an appointment," Brous said.