COVID Vaccine FAQs
COVID vaccine FAQs answered: How to sign up, get on waitlist, learn about clinics, etc.
Since COVID-19 vaccine distribution began on the Treasure Coast, the inboxes and voicemails of TCPalm staff have been full of important questions from readers.
Many of you are asking: When can I expect to get a vaccine if I’m 65 or older? Can I get a vaccine in another county, and can counties limit vaccines to only its residents? I got my first shot, but when and how will I be contacted about getting the second one?
The answer to the most pressing question is: As of Jan. 12, all three counties were fully booked for the doses they had available. As Florida receives vaccines from manufacturers, 80% go to hospitals and 20% go to local health departments and long-term care facilities, by the governor’s executive order.
Here are a list of answers to some of your other frequently asked questions:
Am I eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine?
Local health departments are currently prioritizing three groups of people for free COVID-19 vaccines, as mandated by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis:
- Healthcare providers with direct contact with patients
- Patients and staff in nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- People 65 and older
I am eligible. How do I get a vaccine?
St. Lucie County
People can get on a waitlist. Sign up at eventbrite.com/e/covid-19-vaccination-priority-groups-only-tickets-134664861225 and follow these steps:
- Click on “Select a Date”
- Click “Tickets” (on any date listed)
- Click “Join Waitlist”
- Enter your contact information
- Click on “Join Waitlist”
The health department automatically will contact you with further instructions on how to schedule an appointment when the county receives more doses.
Indian River County
Indian River County does not maintain a waitlist, but the county is exploring options to improve its system and allow people to secure a place in line.
Until then, people should sign up for a free alert service announcing when the county receives new doses and is scheduling appointments for them. Sign up at member.everbridge.net/index/892807736723332#/signup.
Anyone who needs technical assistance with the online signup system can call a new hotline at 772-226-4000 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and select either:
- Option 1: General information call center
- Option 2: Appointment scheduling
However, calls are capped at 60 per day and 240 per week, after which callers will receive a recorded message saying all slots are booked and “additional appointment reservations will become available each week on Monday morning.”
Martin County stopped maintaining a waitlist due to high demand and limited supply, but the health department is working on a better system.
When appointments were available, they were being scheduled by phone at 772-221-4000, Option 3.
Before receiving a vaccine, people should complete vaccination forms, found on the health department’s website.
Can I show up without an appointment?
No. The health departments will provide instructions on when and where to receive your shot. Do not show up without a specific appointment time. You will be turned away.
Can vaccines be limited to county residents?
The Florida health department offices in Martin and Indian River counties have told TCPalm they are not turning away anyone who is eligible for a vaccine. Still, St. Lucie County residents have expressed frustration about the lack of vaccines near them.
“We know current supplies are not enough,” Clint Sperber, head of the state health department office in St. Lucie, said at a Friday briefing. “Please be patient as more vaccines arrive into the state and, eventually, into St. Lucie County.”
I got my first shot. What now?
Answers vary, but residents inoculated at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds Tuesday told TCPalm they were instructed to contact their local health department office in 21 days after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
“Reminder! Return for a second dose!” reads the back of the COVID-19 vaccination record card provided to those inoculated. The date of the first shot was listed on the card, with “21 days” scribbled as a reminder to return.
Can I get a vaccine from Cleveland Clinic?
Yes, if doses are available and you meet any of these hospital criteria:
- 65 and older
- High-risk medical conditions at risk of illness from COVID-19. Note: If you are younger than 65, you will need an order from your primary care provider.
- Hospitalized patients who meet the criteria and are being discharged
- Community healthcare providers and first responders.
If you do not have a MyChart account, the hospital encourages individuals to sign up. If you’re an existing patient who meet the hospital’s criteria, log into your MyChart account. MyChart will notify you when doses are available, then:
- Click on “Schedule an Appointment”
- Click on “COVID Vaccination Clinic”
- Select an open appointment slots
- Enter “COVID vaccine” as the reason for the visit.
You will receive a confirmation and can cancel at any time.
How many people have been vaccinated?
On the Treasure Coast, over 15,100 people had received their first dose as of Jan. 10, according to the health department.
Max Chesnes- Treasure Coast Newspapers