COVID-19 vaccination registration opens Jan. 23 in Pinellas

In Pinellas, residents age 65 and older must have an appointment to get a vaccine through the Department of Health. Appointments can be scheduled online through the CDR HealthPro portal, www.patientportalfl.com, starting at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 23.

Pinellas County expects to receive about 8,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week. Vaccination registration for those ages 65 and older begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23.

However, Maggie Hall, public information officer for Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, posted on Nextdoor.com, about 11:30 a.m. that the patient portal had some technical issues. She suggested that anyone who had tried to book an appointment but could not get to the site, try again.

The post on Nextdoor.com was shared on the DOH’s Facebook page.

About 12:30 p.m., Hall posted again to let the public know that Salesforce had experienced a national server outage that morning that prevented people from being able to make an appointment. She said DOH would put out an announcement once the problem is resolved and people can make an appointment.

Hall posted a third time about 1:15 p.m. and encouraged the public to continue to monitor social media for updates on the patient portal outage and when it might be back up.

Latest information is that the registration system will go live at 1:45 p.m.

Pinellas County Marketing and Communications announced at 2:24 p.m. that all appointments were full. No vaccines are available for those without an appointment and there is no waiting list.

Residents are encouraged to register an account at the portal to make it easier to access the next time vaccine is available. To date, more than 65,000 doses have been distributed in Pinellas.

Appointments were expected to fill quickly as soon as the portal is operational. Appointments for the last batch of vaccine were gone within an hour of registration opening. Vaccination dates will be booked starting early next week.

In Pinellas, residents also must have an appointment to get a vaccine through the Department of Health. Appointments can be scheduled online through the CDR HealthPro portal, www.patientportalfl.com, starting at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 23.

Residents accessing the portal prior to 10 a.m. on Saturday will be able to create an account, but will not be able to book their appointment, No appointments will be booked prior to Saturday at 10 a.m.

To get a vaccine appointment, residents must first create an account and then select an available time. Creating an account does not guarantee availability for this round of appointments. There will be no vaccines for residents without appointments, and there is no waiting list. Family members must sign up and register individually for appointments.

Those without internet access or who need assistance with the portal can call 844-770-8548. The call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can provide guidance in English and Spanish. Any resident with the ability to access the internet is strongly encouraged to use the online portal, as phone wait times are expected to be lengthy.

Pinellas County Fire paramedic crews will operate the four public vaccination sites for seniors over 65 in coordination with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.

Appointments will be scheduled at sites in various parts of the county. Details about access to the vaccine distribution sites will be given to residents upon appointment confirmation. Appointments for the required second dose can be made at the time of scheduling.

Those arriving ahead of schedule may be turned away and instructed to return at their scheduled time.

For more information about vaccines, when vaccine registrations might be occurring and what to expect at your appointment, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/vaccines.

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees issued a health advisory Jan. 21 intended to help prioritize the limited supplies of the vaccine to Florida residents or an individual who is in the state for the purpose of providing health care services involving direct contact with patients.

Vaccinations now require proof of residency, which can include a valid Florida driver license, state issued ID card, deed, rental agreement or utility bill with the patient's name and address. Part-time residents will be asked to provide a part-time rental agreement.

Previously there had been no residency requirement and many had complained about people coming to the state from other locations just to get vaccinated.

DOH Pinellas County is doing what it can to ensure the 250,000 residents age 65 and above in Pinellas County have access to a COVID-19 vaccine. The department recently partnered with Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg and provided more than 500 vaccines to the church’s congregation on Jan. 16.

DOH also is working with Pinellas County Schools to set up vaccinations for employees who are 65 and older.

For more information, visit www.PinellasHealth.com or facebook.com/healthyPinellas.