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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

January 12, 2021

As of January 12, 2021 – All appointments this week for COVID-19 vaccines in Hillsborough County have been filled. Appointment availability is based on the supply of vaccine as provided by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. We expect to be able to offer additional appointments as vaccine is supplied to the county. While Hillsborough County currently does not have access to the number of vaccines being distributed by hospitals and private health care systems, additional vaccination efforts are underway in this community. Qualified individuals under Phase I of the governor of Florida's vaccination distribution plan are also encouraged to check with their health care provider as they may be able to provide a vaccine.

Hillsborough County is in Phase I of the vaccine distribution plan as outlined and directed by the governor of Florida and coordinated by the state department of health. Phase I is categorized by limited supply of vaccine availability and is focused on long-term care facilities (residents and staff); front-line health care workers; and persons age 65 and over. Unfortunately, limited availability of vaccines is still anticipated over the next several weeks.

This week we rolled out two new features to our appointment system in an attempt to help things go more smoothly. We allowed for residents to create user accounts in advance to help smooth out the appointment system, and more than 14,000 people created an account. We provided each age group a designated time to make appointments to help ease congestion on both the appointment portal and the call center. While both of these changes helped to mitigate some of the volume, the demand on the appointment portal as well as the call center remained extremely heavy. Unfortunately, many people did not get an appointment as there were only 9,000 available this week.

We understand your frustration. While we worked hard to create a better customer experience for residents wanting to make an appointment for a vaccine, we recognize there were still challenges in the process. We are working to iron out those challenges understanding that technology is not without limitations.

While we know an additional 9,000 doses is not enough to serve the more than 206,000 residents in Hillsborough County that are age 65 and older, we expect to receive allocations of vaccine from the state as it is made available. Vaccination appointments will be provided to the public based on the vaccine supply allocation received. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Hillsborough County and Hillsborough County Emergency Management is also coordinating with the Florida Division of Emergency Management for mobile distribution of vaccines to group homes and independent living facilities that meet the state’s criteria. While DOH-Hillsborough currently does not have access to the number of vaccines being distributed by hospitals and private health care systems, additional vaccination efforts are underway in this community.

Also, it is important to realize that there is not a statewide residency requirement to get a COVID-19 vaccine as directed by the governor of Florida, which allows vaccine appointments to be scheduled by individuals that may not live in our local community.

For the latest on public COVID-19 vaccination in Hillsborough County, visit HCFLGov.net/Vaccine.

The Florida COVID-19 Response website has the latest vaccine count.

 

Residents

Please understand that the vaccine is not widely available in Hillsborough County at this time and the distribution plans depend on vaccine supplies. Supplies are provided by the federal government and distributed to the states, which then allocate them to counties.

Should you have general questions about the vaccine, please call the state hotline at (866) 779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov.  The Florida COVID-19 Response website has the latest vaccine count.

Medical Workers

The Governor has tasked hospital systems to vaccinate community-based, unaffiliated medical staff. We are currently working with community partners to develop options for medical provider vaccinations.  

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is aware of the following:

Tampa General Hospital

  • TGH will offer the COVID-19 vaccine to community health care personnel with direct patient contact. Click here for more
  • Vaccine appointments are limited and will continue to be opened over time as more supply is available.

BayCare

  • Baycare will offer the COVID-19 vaccine to community health care workers who have direct patient contact. More details will be published next week.
  • BayCare Medical Group Launches Limited Vaccination Service for existing 65+ Patients more here 

AdventHealth

  • AdventHealth is working on a plan to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to community health care workers who have direct patient contact. More details will be published once plans are finalized.  
  • AdventHealth is vaccinating family members of team members who are 65+. 
  • AdventHealth is finalizing a plan to vaccinate AdventHealth Medical Group patients 65+.  

For the latest on public COVID-19 vaccination in Hillsborough County, visit HCFLGov.net/Vaccine .

Medical Providers

Based on the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, which will be determined week to week, we do intend provide vaccine to healthcare providers to vaccinate staff.

There will be two methods:

1 – DOH  provides vaccines to the provider using a Closed Point of Dispensing (POD) agreement. Does require the agency to obtain a FLSHOTS account and update the system on vaccines given. Just a note: Several providers have formed agreements with other providers to become the “POD” for the group.

2 – As vaccines become more available, DOH-Hillsborough be setting up a vaccination POD for healthcare workers only. This would be open to any health care worker who can show identification whom they are affiliated with.

Either way, DOH is encouraging all healthcare providers to register with FLSHOTS as a Vaccine for Adult (VFA) or Vaccine for Children (VFC) provider. Although you cannot – at this time – order the COVID vaccine through this system, once it becomes more widely available, then you would be allowed to.

Attachments for Providers:

Provider Information for COVID-19 Vaccine Enrollment

COVID-19 Vaccine Enrollment Process for Providers

Should you want to enter into an MOU please email us.