A new system will allow users to add their name to a waiting list online, over the phone or via an app. The county will host its first drive-thru vaccination clinics this week.
On Wednesday, Sarasota County expects to launch a new registration process for COVID-19 vaccination appointments, replacing the Eventbrite system that drew complaints from members of the public during the initial vaccine rollout.
The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County announced the new vaccine registration system, which uses the Everbridge platform, will go live at noon Wednesday. The county is hosting two drive-thru vaccination clinics at Twin Lakes Park on Thursday and Friday, where officials will distribute 3,300 vaccines to individuals in the highest priority groups.
In a video, health department spokesperson Steve Huard said the new system will allow residents to add their name to a waiting list for available appointment slots. At a meeting last week, County Commissioner Christian Ziegler said much of the frustration he heard about the Eventbrite system arose because it did not have that functionality.
“What I’ve heard from citizens is, ‘Look, I’m fine being No. 74,132 as long as I know I have a place in line,’” Ziegler said. “Right now, they just feel like they go on that site, and when they hit it, it’s sold out.”
The county said links to the registration portal will be available on the health department and county websites at noon Wednesday. Individuals will also be able to register over the phone by calling 941-861-8297 or by using the Everbridge smartphone app.
COVID-19 vaccines are available to individuals who are 65 or older and frontline healthcare workers. The county shared a list of information users will need to provide to complete their registration.
UPDATE: This article has been edited to correct the phone number for vaccine registration.