Orange County

How Orange County plans to deal with COVID-19 vaccine appointment demand as eligibility increases

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Florida is days away from expanding COVID-19 eligibility again, but Orange County leaders said the county is still not planning to join the statewide system for people to use to find a vaccination appointment.

Orange County and a few other counties across Central Florida have opted out of using the state’s portal, saying it had too many kinks that needed to be worked out.

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The state’s site has you register and then books an appointment for you when one becomes available.

But when the state lowers the vaccine eligibility to age 40 and older on Monday and then to age 16 and older the next week, appointment portals are expected to be flooded.

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In Orange County, the portal typically opens at 9 a.m., which means for a while people will likely be on their computers day after day trying to sign up.

“I’ve been told today that the CDR Maguire, the service that we are using, has created a wait room, when people sign up and they don’t have appointments,” Orange County health officer, Dr. Raul Pino, said.

A CDR Maguire spokesperson said that they will launch a waiting room that will launch when the portal says no appointments are available. You can stay in the virtual room and if you leave the browser open it will keep you in a queue.

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That way if there are any cancelations, it will allow you to fill those spots. But once you sign out, you’ll have to start over again.

“Our advice has always been, register in advance, put in all your information so that you don’t waste that precious time figuring out what to do, you can register,” Pino said. “And then when the appointments open, you only have to click get an appointment.”

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Pino said there will soon be a lot more appointments available simply because there will be several more places outside of the Orange County Convention center site doing vaccinations.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.