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What You Need To Know About COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

February 11, 2021

Appointments Mandatory for Second COVID-19 Vaccinations at University Mall

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is reminding residents that anyone who received their first COVID-19 vaccine at the state’s University Mall location must have an appointment for their second dose. Individuals who do not have an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be asked to return only when they have an appointment. This policy is in place across all state-supported vaccination sites.

If an individual has not been contacted for their second dose appointment and it is past the date listed on their CDC vaccination card, they can visit and provide their contact information and select the box that says, “Are you seeking your first dose?” and select, “No, I am seeking my second dose,” from the drop-down menu.

The state is continuing to schedule second dose appointments as quickly as possible. People who have a vaccination card to return to the University Mall site need to have a confirmed appointment time – even if the card notates a date. Those without this confirmed appointment will be turned away.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the second dose may be administered – and the vaccine will still be effective - up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose.

Steps to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

The first step to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Hillsborough County is to call 866-200-3896, TTY 844-251-5532 or visit:

Calling for COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

Once an individual calls and provides their contact information and date of birth, they are placed in a queue for call backs. An individual will not directly speak with an operator until they receive a call back. Once the individual receives a call back, they will work with the operator to find an open appointment that works best with their schedule. Every eligible individual will receive a call back when appointments become available. It may take several weeks before someone calls to schedule an appointment.

Online Registration for COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

The website will allow individuals who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to be contacted directly when vaccine appointments are available in their area. On the site, residents can select their county and submit their contact information. Once appointments are available, individuals will be contacted by phone call, text or email and will be assisted in scheduling an appointment. It may take several weeks before someone calls to schedule an appointment.

For those with an appointment and need to make changes or resolve technical support issues, call the Help Line at 833-540-2028. The Help Line is not able to schedule appointments. For those who have questions regarding COVID-19, the safety of the vaccine, or cases of COVID-19 in the state, should call the State of Florida COVID-19 Call Center at 866-779-6121.

As outlined in Executive Order 20 – 315, individuals who are eligible for the vaccine in Florida are outlined below. If someone does not meet these eligibility requirements, they will not be able to pre-register.

  • Long-term care facility residents and staff;
  • Persons 65 years of age and older; and
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact.
Hospital providers, however, also may vaccinate persons who they deem to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. This decision is made by the hospital physician and not the Florida Department of Health or other health care providers.

Those who have an appointment should be prepared to bring proof of residency to the appointment.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions here.

If you do not reside in Hillsborough county, click to see the vaccine hotline for other Florida counties.

Additional COVID-19 Vaccination Sites at Walmart and Publix Locations Throughout Florida

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program sites will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines on Friday, February 12, at 490 pharmacy locations across 52 counties. The State of Florida secured these retail partnerships and collaborated to identify strategic locations for each store to ensure maximum reach. 

“Florida is proud to partner with Walmart and other retailers, including Publix, to expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Governor DeSantis. “Through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, we look forward to reaching more Floridians and ensuring that all eligible residents who want a vaccine are able to receive one. We will continue to utilize strategic partnerships and identify innovative ways to get more shots in arms and put Florida’s Seniors First.”

For the first week of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, the state is expecting to receive 65,300 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Future allocations through this program will be announced as they become available.

In Florida, Walmart/Sam’s Club, Publix Super Markets and Southeastern Grocers (Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarket and Fresco y Más) pharmacies were selected to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine. The sites were selected based on a number of factors including the number of stores and the ability to reach prioritized populations.

Select Publix locations previously receiving allocations from the state will now receive their allocations directly through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. A list of all vaccination sites at Publix locations in Florida is available here.

In accordance with Executive Order 20 – 315, these sites will offer the COVID-19 vaccine to all individuals 65 years of age and older, as well as frontline health care workers.

These allocations are additional doses to the state’s weekly allocations to supplement existing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. All locations listed will receive their vaccine doses directly from the federal government and the federal government determines allocations for each location.

The number of sites and the counties they are located in are as follows:

  • Publix – 593 locations (324 current, 269 new) (Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval,  Escambia, Flagler, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Leon, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwanee, Volusia and Walton)
  • Walmart and Sam’s Club – 119 locations (Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Escambia, Gadsden, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Marion, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Lucie, Sumter, Wakulla)
  • Winn-Dixie – 43 locations (Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jackson, Lake, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okaloosa, Pasco, Putnam, Sarasota, Sumter, Volusia)

Appointments are required at each location. Appointments can be made on the pharmacy’s website. Designated websites for each location include:

Hours and operations vary per site. Websites for each pharmacy will have additional information regarding hours of operations.

These sites are in addition to ongoing state vaccination efforts. To date, more than 330 vaccination sites have been opened statewide through partnerships with local communities and hospitals. The Florida Department of Health continues to identify active vaccine sites. All vaccine sites in Florida are posted on the Florida Department of Health's website here.

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the United States. More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website here.

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