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Florida to begin statewide appointment system for COVID-19 vaccine

Director of emergency management says online portal could be ready in weeks
Gov. Ron DeSantis watches as Carlos Dennis receives COVID-19 vaccine in Miami, Jan. 6, 2021
Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 14, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's director of emergency management said a statewide appointment system for COVID-19 vaccinations will bring order to the chaos marking the first weeks of the state's rollout to its most vulnerable residents.

Director Jared Moskowitz told a legislative House committee Thursday that the online portal could be ready in weeks.

Moskowitz also blamed the federal government for not moving fast enough in releasing enough supply to meet demand in Florida.

Jared Moskowitz
Florida Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz says vaccination success in Pensacola means more of these sites will soon pop up across the state.

The order by Gov. Ron DeSantis to make coronavirus vaccines available to seniors 65 and older prompted a crush in demand at vaccination sites.

In Delray Beach, for instance, a limited supply of 200 doses of the vaccine was available, but appointments filled up just eight minutes after they were made available online.

As of Tuesday, more than 707,000 Floridians had at least one of the two necessary shots.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine information, county by county

DeSantis has been aggressive in the state's mantra of putting seniors first, announcing earlier this week that several additional Publix pharmacies throughout the state will be offering the vaccine.

The governor also met with Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner on Tuesday to discuss the vaccine rollout. Although DeSantis didn't speak, Kerner said the governor is looking at a distribution plan involving Publix in Palm Beach County.

"We'll find out here shortly more details on the Publix distribution plan," Kerner said.

While announcing 56 more Publix sites to receive the vaccine, DeSantis vowed Wednesday to make sure that every senior who wants the vaccine will be able to get it.

"We're not stopping here," he said.