ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — St. Johns County announced Sunday morning they are no longer accepting appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine until it gets a second shipment of the vaccine.
The county said it will reopen its appointment registration system once the new vaccines arrive.
For those already on the waitlist, they will be able to take the vaccine at their appointed time beginning Monday.
County officials held a press conference Saturday afternoon at the Emergency Operations Center to announced how qualified people could sign up to receive the vaccine.
Representatives from the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County, St. Johns County Fire Rescue, and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office were at the press conference.
After experiencing challenges with the vaccination process last week, county leaders reached out to the Department of Health about expanding its partnership to provide more resources to the county.
Commissioner Jeremiah Ray Blocker said the county is stepping in to facilitate the program to provide more help with the vaccination process. They are also looking at expanding the program but do not have another location yet.
Getting county government involved will allow the program to be more "effective and efficient," said Blocker.
The county received its first allocation of 3,000 doses last week.
A representative from the Florida Department of Health said a closer collaboration with the county's emergency management and fire rescue will ensure that those who need the vaccine will receive it as quickly as possible.
The new program will operate at the Solomon Calhoun Center in St. Augustine, according to St. Johns County Administrator Hunter S Conrad. Vaccines will be administered by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
At this time, the county is working with a limited number of doses which has already been accounted for through a waiting list the health department has compiled.
As the program evolves and the county receives more doses, residents will be able to receive their second dose of the vaccine on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This will also operate by appointment only.
This new vaccine program is separate from the doses being distributed by Flager Hospital and other private organizations, the county said.
On Jan. 4, the county plans on vaccinating approximately 200 residents that are currently on the waiting list. There are no other appointments available for this week other than those on the waiting list. The reason behind this is that county leaders do not know when the next vaccine shipment will come in.
County leaders said they expect to have the second dose of the vaccine within the next 30 days.
Law enforcement says the excessive traffic will seize due to the new appointment only rule. The county has also brought in extra resources to work with the vaccination call center.
You may contact the hotline at (904) 295-3711 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, St. Johns County has launched a new text alert system. Individuals can text SJCVACCINE to 888777 to receive COVID-19 vaccination updates.
Watch the full press conference below.