Day 1 of COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Broward County less than smooth sailing

DAVIE, Fla. – Don’t bother calling the Florida Department of Health in Broward County to make an appointment if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine – word from the Department of Health is that you must make the appointment online.

That’s a difficult feat considering that the website has been down more often than it has been working. Many people have said they have been trying for weeks to get an appointment.

[RELATED: Get the details on Broward County locations: Vista View Park, Davie; Tradewinds Park, Coconut Creek, and, on Tuesday, Markham Park, Sunrise. The website address: https://browardcovidvaccine.com/

As of 1 a.m. Monday, the website was back online. However, it stated that all appointments were filled: “The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has provided 26,465 COVID-19 vaccination appointments to individuals ages 65 and over. All appointments have been filled at this time. Please check back to this website often as more sites and appointments will be added over the coming days and weeks.”

On Day 1 of the vaccination rollout for those 65-plus and older, things were less than smooth sailing at Vista View Park, one of two sites that opened Sunday. The other was Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek.

Hundreds of people did show up at Vista View Park and got the vaccine, while others were turned away because they did not have an appointment, or they were the caught in the tangle of the website crash.

There was a short window Sunday morning where the website was working, but it crashed shortly after despite FDOH sending out a release that the website was back and running.

At Vista View Park, a line of cars stretched throughout the park and down a side street for most of the day. The COVID-19 vaccination site opened at 8 a.m. and was scheduled to stay open until 4 p.m. Sunday.

Jonathan Tabachnikoff, a healthcare worker, was accompanying his 74-year-old mother who had an appointment that was made online.

“The line was around the corner and it took us an hour just to get to the entrance to be told there was a glitch in the computer, but if we were OK to stay that we were welcome to and it would be a couple more hours,” Tabachnikoff said.

The two had struggled to find her an appointment until a spot opened up online this morning.

Others showing up today were also hoping for the best after the website to secure spots repeatedly crashed, even while in the middle of booking appointment.

Richard Mure waited in his car and was hoping that when he got the front of the line, he would be able to get a vaccine.

“The site kept crashing, so we tried to get back on, but it kept saying, you can’t get back in, you are already registered with an appointment. I am hoping that their technology is up to snuff and that they do have the availability to find my name there,” Mure said.

Information from the Florida Department of Health states:

If you have previously registered you should have received an email confirmation, please check your spam or junk email folders. For all future appointments, a confirmation email will be sent within 48 hours of the registration.

If you are trying to register and find that appointments are not available, please check back often as we are increasing the number of vaccination sites for Seniors in Broward County in the coming weeks.

Vaccinations will be available at no cost, by appointment only. Appointments for drive-thru vaccination sites can be made at https://browardcovidvaccine.com. Appointments cannot be made by telephone at this time.

Individuals who receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will automatically be given an appointment for the second dose 21 days later.

Overall, the vaccine rollout here and across the state has been rocky. The head of the department which oversees the program appear on Local 10′s Sunday news program, “This Week in South Florida” and explained the difficulties.

“It’s tough to do long-range planning when you’re only getting a 7-day look at when the vaccine is coming,” Jared Moskowitz, director of Florida Division of Emergency Management, said. “There is a lot of hesitancy with providers on the second shot, again, because we don’t have a good look at when that second shot is coming and even though that first delivery of the second shot did arrive.”

Moskowitz said his department is monitoring the vaccine site rollouts and all of the problems and will assess the needs as the week goes on so that things roll smoothly For people who got a shot today, they did get an appointment to return for the second shot since this is the two-shot Pfizer vaccine that was distributed.

The coronavirus testing site at Holiday Park in Broward County is in the midst of transitioning to a vaccine administration location.

According to the City of Fort Lauderdale, it is working with neighboring cities Oakland Park, Pompano Beach and Wilton Manors to establish a COVID-19 vaccination site.

Once up and running, it will be operated by the Florida Department of Health.

(Below is the fact sheet recipients are given before receiving the Pfizer vaccination.)


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