Alachua County calling thousands who used wrong vaccine registration site

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Alachua County is calling thousands of residents who have signed up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments on the state registration site even though the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County opted out of the system.

County employees have so far called more than 2,900 people who inadvertently signed up on the state site, according to Mark Sexton, Alachua County communications director.

“We don’t want them to think that by going to the state registration system they’re going to get an appointment, because they’re not,” Sexton said in a phone interview.

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The health departments in most area counties plan to use the state registration system, but the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County quickly announced it would not participate, citing the county’s strong vaccination progress.

Sexton noted the county itself has no direct vaccination authority or duties, but it wanted to notify residents of their mistake and help them register. The county employees pass the information to the department of health, which then contacts people to set appointments.

“The county is trying to figure out what we can do in a support capacity,” Sexton said. “That’s why we put together this call center.”

Among calls made so far, county employees found 515 who had also registered on the county department of health website and another 714 had already received a vaccination.

Sexton said the call center left 666 messages through Monday and residents should be on the lookout for a local number ending in 6556 on their caller IDs.

The call center was originally scheduled to make calls only Monday and Tuesday, but Sexton said the work may continue, because the number of Alachua County residents registering on the state site is growing daily.

“I’m not exactly sure what the schedule will be going forward, but I’m sure if the state number continues to grow, the county will continue to try and help,” Sexton said.

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