JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first seniors and healthcare workers who hadn’t received a shot from their employer received Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Prime Osborn Convention Center on Monday.
Although people were told to show up only 15 minutes before their appointments, more than 100 people were in line when the doors opened at 8:45 am. After the first hour, when a lot of people either showed up without an appointment or had forgotten what it was, the lines only fell on a handful of people. Most said the process was done quickly – sometimes they were shot before the actual appointment.
Officials said 500 shots should be administered Monday. The department hopes to scale up to 1,000 appointments per day over time.
The vaccines are free, and the people who receive the shot are given a card with the day they should receive the second shot, although information on how to schedule that appointment was not yet available. A second dose is needed for the vaccine to be as effective as possible.
The health department passed this information on to people who come for the vaccination:
- All persons must wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing during the appointment.
- You will need to provide government-issued identification and insurance information. You don’t have to pay anything, but the insurance company does.
- Walk-ins are NOT allowed.
- Toilets are available for those waiting for vaccines – a change from last week’s information.
Officials hoped the need for appointments would limit the lines and waiting times for each person. Filling out the consent form (available online) also speeds up the process.
Seven lanes will be set up for people to enter at their appointment to get the vaccine. Then they have to wait 15 minutes after the shot to make sure there are no side effects. Health workers will be there to monitor these people.
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A phone line opened on Wednesday for booking appointments was flooded and failed to connect the vast majority of callers, causing frustration and outrage. When the online planning went online shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday, it took less than 90 minutes to fill the remaining appointments for that week.
Many who were able to book appointments online were hoping for a confirmation email or text confirmation, but Samantha Epstein of the health department said it won’t, even though they are working to make the process more efficient.
“We understand that there are some questions and concerns about the online appointment system. We’d like to thank the community for their patience as we continue to work to make this process more efficient, ”she wrote to News4Jax on Friday.
A glitch was discovered that allowed people to submit a form online without choosing a date / time for an appointment.
“We identified the people who submitted an invalid online form and sent them an email notification (Sunday),” Epstein said Monday. “A robo-call was sent to them too. We encourage anyone (who thinks they have a confirmed appointment) to read their email and voicemail before coming to the Prime Osborn. If you’ve received one of these notifications, you’ll need to reschedule. We’ll be opening dates for the week of January 11th very soon. “
The health department also sent this advice to make appointments online:
- We’ve noticed that people make multiple appointments online. Please do not do this as it will block the system and take another time window.
- Make sure you choose a date and time before submitting your form. If a date / time slot is not available on the form, do not submit the form. If you submit the form without a date / time slot, the form will be cleared and you will not have an appointment.
- After the appointment has been set, a confirmation message (popup) is displayed. You will NOT receive a confirmation email. Please take a screenshot of the confirmation message to keep for your records, although it is not required to receive the vaccine.
The pop-up window appears after a COVID-19 vaccine is booked online with the Duval County Health Department. This is the only confirmation the person receives.
The link to schedule an appointment – jax.readyop.com/fs/4cc6/8521 – stays on duval.floridahealth.gov. Individuals will be asked to enter their name, email address, phone number, and date of birth to book their time.
Anyone 65 years of age or older and any health care worker who has not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine can get their first dose of vaccine in Duval County. There are no residency requirements, although people are encouraged to get the vaccine in the county where they live.
“This vaccine is not bound by borders. It is provided by the federal government, ”said Dr. Pauline Rolle, the medical executive director of the State Ministry of Health in Duval County. “We provide it for free. Even if you do not live in Duval, you could still be vaccinated through us. Remember, however, that other counties will be rolling out their vaccination efforts and encourage people to get vaccinated in their own counties, we will surely serve everyone from each county. “
Florida-based Bob West said he believed he was one of the first to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine in Jacksonville this week.
“I think it’s going to be a madhouse,” West said.
West said his concern now is not to receive confirmation of his appointment and not to allow him to get the vaccine.
“What I don’t understand is how they would have a system where you go online and make an appointment and have no way of confirming this with the people who make the appointment,” West said.
West said he has gathered his records and plans to pay close attention to how the appointments go tomorrow before his appointment later this week.
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