Hillsborough County updates methods to register for COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Signups for Hillsborough County's second week of COVID-19 vaccines will begin Tuesday morning as the county attempts to avoid the same issues that plagued the system last week.

Seniors over the age of 65 were able to pre-register Monday. This week, the signup period will be broken into three groups:

  • Residents age 85 and older can book an appointment between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
  • Residents age 75 to 84 can book an appointment between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Residents age 65 to 74 can book an appointment between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • After 5 p.m., any resident age 65 and older can book any remaining slots while appointments remain available.

The county made a series of adjustments in response to problems that began almost immediately when the first week of signups began: the reservation website crashed and eventually had to be scrapped altogether, while the phone lines were jammed for hours.

LINK: COVID-19 vaccine distribution information in Tampa Bay area counties

County leaders ended up going with a call-in registration period during last week.

"With everyone rolling it out pretty much on the same day, it just hit every system out there and it caused us to regroup," said Timothy Dudley, the county's emergency management director.

This week, however, the website is up and running again, but with a different vendor operating it.

"We're working together as partners to come up with a good plan to ensure that appointments are available, the experience is a lot different and that we get all the sites set up and ready to go," Dudley said.

Hillsborough County's call-in appointment system is now operating 24 hours. Appointments can be made by calling (850) 848-5287.