Close to 21,000 in second priority group signed up as of early afternoon March 18
On March 9, when Sarasota County Health Officer Chuck Henry provided a COVID-19 update to the County Commission, he estimated that 24,000 persons — people age 65 and older and frontline health care workers — remained to receive their first doses of vaccine.
Those individuals were in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Priority Group 1A.
With other eligible persons in that group having signed up in Sarasota County’s COVID-19 vaccination system since March 9, approximately 24,200 remained to receive their initial shots, county Media Relations Officer Brianne Grant told The Sarasota News Leader on March 18.
Staff expected all of those persons to be scheduled for their first doses by the end of next week, she added in a late-morning email.
Indeed, about two hours later, Grant reported that first-dose appointments would be going out the afternoon of March 18 for clinics the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) will operate at Sarasota Square Mall on Monday, March 22; Tuesday, March 23; and Wednesday, March 24.
“The system has scheduled through account number 161,037 but may send out additional notices as we continue to see an increase in appointment notice declines,” Grant wrote in that email blast. Those who do accept their appointment notices, she added, should prepare to return to the mall in 28 days for their second Moderna-dose appointments.
As of early afternoon on March 18, Grant reported, more than 137,870 individuals had received their COVID-19 vaccinations in Sarasota County. Along with persons age 65 and up and frontline health care workers, residents of assisted living facilities, hospital and health care staff, and persons living in communities where the state has conducted pop-up clinics have been vaccinated, she noted.
After the remaining individuals in Priority Group 1A received appointment notices, Grant wrote, DOH-Sarasota would begin scheduling persons who signed up starting March 15 on the county’s enhanced registration system. That updated Everbridge system was designed for the governor’s second priority group, which includes individuals age 60 and over, as well as K-12 school employees, firefighters and law enforcement officers who are 50 or older. Those individuals will be notified in order of account number, Grant added.
“As of noon” on March 18, she continued, 20,600 individual accounts had been registered in the enhanced system that launched on Monday.
The initial tally of new accounts late in the afternoon of March 15 was 11,705, Grant wrote in an email blast that day to members of the news media.
As of 2:30 p.m. on March 16, the figure had climbed to 16,978. Then, by 11:30 a.m. on March 17, the number had reached 19,042, Grant noted.
Further, on March 17, Grant reported that DOH-Sarasota was scheduling appointments through account number 153,630 for first-dose appointments through the rest of this week.
Appointment notifications also went out on March 17 for a state-operated second-dose clinic to be held at Suncoast Technical College on Saturday, March 20, and Sunday, March 21. Those were for persons who received their first doses at state clinics held on Feb. 20 and 21, Grant noted.
Everyone who accepts an appointment must bring a signed consent form before receiving either a first or second dose, Steve Huard, the DOH-Sarasota public information officer, has stressed. The form is available at this link.
Grant also continues to urge those who receive appointment notices to “pay close attention to the location listed,” as the person must go to the clinic identified on the notice, if the person chooses to accept the appointment. That is because the type of vaccine that will be administered may vary from location to location, she pointed out.
In regard to the enhanced registration system: Eligible accounts that were created between noon on Monday and 11 a.m. on March 17 begin getting their numbers on March 17, Grant also reported. “The account number is your registration number and your place in line/queue,” she noted. “See this video for how to verify your account number,” she added in the email blast. The number will appear at the top of the form, not the bottom, as previously was the case, she wrote.
Additionally, persons who successfully registered accounts in the new system should be receiving confirmation emails, Grant explained.
“As new accounts are registered,” she pointed out, “it will take a few days for the account number to populate.”
County staff continues to encourage individuals to check the DOH-Sarasota website — SarasotaHealth.org — or the county’s COVID-19 webpages — for updates and more information.
Anyone with questions who cannot find help on the DOH-Sarasota or the county webpages may call the Vaccine Registration Team at 941-861-VAXS (8297) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.