County Health Department Didn’t Expect So Many Calls. Seriously.
UPDATE: 3:48 p.m: We just heard from a reader who is in his 80s, sounds to be in great health, and reports that there is now a message on the Department of Health phone line (see below) telling callers to call back next week. There is also an email address that apparently leads to an inoperable mailbox. We’re effecting to obtain a legitimate address — but quite frankly — wouldn’t place a lot of confidence in anything that doesn’t generate an instant reservation confirmation number.
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Palm Beach County announced a COVID vaccine reservation system, then promptly shut it down when more calls came in than it could handle. It was not clear why the health department, in the midst of a pandemic, didn’t plan for — or expect — an onslaught of calls from senior citizens seeking the vaccine. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to state that senior citizens are the priority.
Alexander Shaw, spokesperson for the Palm Beach County division of the Florida Department of Health, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear when the hotline will be reopened. It’s also unclear where people will be directed. Baptist Health Systems on Monday told BocaNewsNow.com that its hospitals — including Baptist East, Baptist West and Boca Raton Regional Hospital, are not ready to announce plans for vaccinating the general public.
The following is the message posted to the DOH’s website for Palm Beach County. Spokesman Alexander Shaw has not responded to a request for information from BocaNewsNow.com.
***UPDATE*** Our appointment line can only handle 150 calls at a time and is currently overwhelmed, but the number is correct. Please be patient.
Thank you for contacting the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County (DOH-Palm Beach), and for your interest in the COVID-19 Vaccine.
While we are encouraged to see a high demand for persons over 65 years of age to get vaccinated, there is presently a limited amount of vaccine available, and there are currently a limited number of available appointments at this time.
We are working on expanding our infrastructure to handle the high demand we are experiencing.
If you are 65 years or older and would like to schedule an appointment for your COVID-19 vaccination, please call the appointment hotline at: 561-625-5180.
DOH-Palm Beach will concentrate on fulfilling all current appointments as well as completing our vaccination of frontline health care workers who will be vaccinating patients themselves.
Make sure you speak with your primary care provider to answer any questions you have about the vaccine before you receive it.
For any additional questions about the vaccine at this time, the State COVID-19 Call Center can be reached by calling 1-866-779-6121 or emailing COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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