JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Duval County on Monday will begin giving Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 65 years of age and older and health care workers who were able to get an appointment.
A phone line that opened Wednesday to book appointments was deluged and failed to connect the vast majority of people who called, causing frustration and outrage. When online scheduling went live just after 5 p.m. Thursday, it took less than 90 minutes for the rest of this week’s appointments to be filled.
The vaccine will be given at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, and 500 appointments were scheduled for Monday. The department hopes to scale up to 1,000 appointments each day over time. The vaccines are free of charge and a second dose will be needed for it to be as effective as possible.
The health department put out this information to people coming to get vaccinated:
- All individuals are required to wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing during the appointment.
- You’ll need to show a government-issued ID.
- There are no restrooms available for use during the appointment.
- Walk-ins will NOT be allowed.
Officials hope that requiring appointments will limit the lines and wait times for each person. Filling out the consent form (available online) will also speed the process.
There will be seven lanes set up for people to come in at their appointment time to get the vaccine. Then they have to wait 15 minutes to make sure there are no adverse reactions. Health care workers will be there to monitor those people.
Don’t expect confirmation/reminder
Many who were able to book appointments online were hoping to get a confirmation email or text confirmation, but Samantha Epstein, with the health department, said that won’t happen, although they are working to make the process more efficient.
“We understand there are some questions and concerns about the online appointment system. We would like to thank the community for its patience as we continue to work on making this process more efficient,” she wrote to News4Jax on Friday.
She added these notes about booking appointments, which they hope to reopen this week:
- We have identified that people are making multiple appointments online. Please do not do this as it bogs down the system and takes time slots away from others.
- Be sure to select a date and time before you submit your form. If there is not a date/time slot available on the form, do not submit the form. If you do submit the form without a date/time slot, the form will be deleted and you will not have an appointment.
- You will see a confirmation message (pop-up) after the appointment is set. You WILL NOT receive a confirmation email. Please take a screenshot of the confirmation message to keep for your records, although that is not required to receive the vaccine.
The link to make an appointment — jax.readyop.com/fs/4cc6/8521 — will remain on duval.floridahealth.gov. People will be asked to enter their name, email, phone number and date of birth to book their time. No insurance information is required.
Anyone 65 years old and above and any health care worker who has not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine can receive their first dose of the vaccine in Duval County. There is no residency requirement, although people are encouraged to get the vaccine in the county where they live.
“This vaccine is not limited by boundaries. It’s provided by the federal government,” said Dr. Pauline Rolle, the medical executive director of the state Department of Health in Duval County. “We’re providing it for free and so with that, even if you’re not a Duval resident, you could still be vaccinated through us, but please keep in mind other counties will be rolling out their vaccination efforts, so we encourage people to get vaccinated in their own counties but certainly, we will service anyone from any county.”