For persons under 65, county COVID-19 vaccination registration link will go live on afternoon of March 15

System being updated to facilitate delivery of doses

Image courtesy Sarasota County Government

The Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH) will expand vaccination registration eligibility on Monday, March 15, for those who are over the age of 60, in accordance with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent Executive Order, county staff has announced.

The registration link will go live on Monday afternoon, a news release says. The exact time has not been announced, Media Relations Officer Brianne Grant told The Sarasota News Leader. That information will be made available later, she said.

“As registration eligibility priority groups expand, the DOH will continue to schedule vaccination appointments in numerical order based on when accounts are created,” the release adds. Further, the department will complete its administration of vaccine to individuals who are over the age of 65, along with frontline health care workers, all of whom were in the governor’s original priority group, the release points out.

“We started with 65 and above because they are the most vulnerable and here in Sarasota County, 37% of our population is [in] that age group,” said DOH Health Officer Chuck Henry in the release. “We are committed to working through that population to ensure those who want to receive the vaccine are able to get it before we expand other groups,” he added in the release.

More than 115,00 individuals in the 65+ and frontline health care workers priority group have been vaccinated in Sarasota County, the release pointed out. That leaves approximately 65,000 of those community members who have yet to get their shots, Henry said.

As soon as those remaining eligible individuals in the first priority group have received a first-dose appointment, DOH will transition to scheduling appointments for those 60 and older, along with frontline health care workers, “in numerical order of registration/account number” from the enhanced system county staff will be using, the release explains.

Beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 12, individuals no longer will be able to create or change an account through the current registration system that launched on Jan. 20, the release emphasizes. This will allow for the transition to the updated sign-up to begin without causing those eligible individuals already in the system to lose their place in the queue, the release adds. Further, this will require individuals who are and older, plus health care workers who have not registered yet, to wait until Monday to sign up when the enhanced system is launched, the release notes.

Ineligible individuals who created accounts in the current system also will need to sign up in the enhanced system on Monday, the release stresses. Their previous numbers from their ineligible accounts will not follow them to the new platform, the release adds. That is to “ensure fairness throughout the registration process,” the release says.

“Beginning Monday, all individuals who are over the age of 18 will be able to register through the updated system,” the release explains. However, only individuals who meet the current state guidelines as of March 15 (individuals who are over 60, plus frontline healthcare workers, school staff members and law enforcement officers) will receive account numbers and will be eligible for appointment notifications, the release points out.

“As state guidelines continue to expand, numbers will be assigned to accounts that meet eligibility guidelines by in order of registration,” the release continues. “It may take up to a few days for account numbers to populate into newly registered accounts,” the release points out.

DOH staff will continue to schedule appointments by numerical order, based on account creation time stamps and sequential priority groups, the release notes.

As of March 10, this is the latest data recorded by the state for COVID-19 cases in Sarasota County. Image courtesy Florida Department of Health

Registration system enhancements

The following adjustments have been implemented as facets of the enhanced registration system, to make the process even more efficient, the release emphasizes:

  • Single-person sign-ups — An account will be for one person only. This adjustment will aid in the scheduling process, especially for second-dose appointments. “Single-person sign-ups also allow for names to be added to appointment confirmation notices and assist with the check-in process at the clinic,” the release explains.
  • Date fields — “Individuals will enter required dates using a calendar format. This conversion will ensure proper and consistent formatting throughout all the accounts,” the release says.
  • Expanded account information — The account registration form will have several new fields to allow for eligibility grouping and scheduling. This data will be collected for the updating of state vaccination tracking, as well, which the state handles through the Florida Shots website.

Individuals with questions or those needing assistance with account registration may call the Vaccine Registration call center at 941-861-VAXS (8297) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Persons also may visit the Information and Registration Station inside Sarasota Square Mall between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. during clinic operations, or they may send social media direct messages via @SRQCountyGov.

“Individuals needing account or registration assistance should refrain from contacting the Everbridge call center,” the release emphasizes.

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