ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - "Once additional doses of vaccine are received, we will open the reservations system to the public again," according to a county statement. "In the meantime, please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, maintain a social distance and stay at home if you are feeling sick."
Registration opened Monday, but the county health officials said they were quickly overwhelmed by the thousands of individuals trying to grab a time slot. In fact, at one point, all registration methods -- both by phone and online -- were temporarily suspended. The county reopened its call center Tuesday morning, but by 12:30 p.m., officials announced all available appointment times have been filled.
The error message seen from the Department of Health in Pinellas County's website.
According to the health department, a fraudulent Eventbrite was created selling "tickets" to register for a vaccine appointment.
"Please note that anyone who has made an appointment through the fraudulent Eventbrite site does not have a valid reservation for a vaccination at the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. However, schedulers will work with those individuals to get them onto the schedule," the county said in a statement.
The sheriff's office said they are investigating the website.
They said they have exactly 400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that can be administered each day in the first phase of the vaccine rollout plan.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said Monday he knows county officials are doing their best, but says more of the effort should be managed from Tallahassee and Washington.
"How about we have a plan to distribute it statewide that’s organized and well thought-out?" he suggested. "So that everyone is doing things the same way and there’s one clear message."
Pinellas has vaccinated thousands of nursing home and other long-term care facilities, but many more seniors are in the general population and, to many, it seems the registration and vaccination process is off to a slow start.
For those who do manage to get through to register, the Pinellas vaccination sites are the Clearwater Health Center, the Mid-County Health Center, and the St. Petersburg Health Center.