The window for online registration to get a much-sought-after COVID-19 vaccine at Publix stores opens again at 6 a.m. Friday. There are 261 Publix locations in 20 counties offering the shots, but so far, only St. Johns and Flagler counties in Northeast Florida are included in that list.
Appointments offered Wednesday morning filled in less than 90 minutes, leaving thousands frustrated after waiting online hoping to snag an appointment.
The fact is, there is more demand than supply. Last Friday it took 2.5 hours for 48,900 appointments to fill up. A Publix spokeswoman said more than 300,000 were on its website that morning trying to book one of those appointments.
People who have successfully made a vaccine appointments with Publix have a few ideas that might increase your odds.
When you got to Publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida at 6 a.m. Friday, you’ll likely see a message: “Our vaccine scheduling site is currently live, but full of other customers.” It continues, saying, “Please be patient and do lot leave this page.”
Do you follow that advice and resist the urge to refresh the page? Lynn Lubell of Boca Raton, who has had success making appointments for about 10 friends and family members, told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel she has had success by refreshing the page.
“If you are in a ‘waiting room situation,’ refresh your browser frequently to see if an opportunity to make an appointment opens up,” Lubell told the newspaper.
Her other strategy is to keep multiple browsers and windows open.
“I’ve had seven browser windows open at once. I’ll let two stay as they are and keep refreshing the others, just to see what will work,” Lubell told the Sun-Sentinel.
In addition to using multiple browsers, if you can also have a session open on your phone, a tablet, even a second computer if you have access to one. If you don’t have multiple devices, perhaps enlist a friend or relative — even someone in another state — to go online and increase your chances of getting an appointment.
Also, if you’re willing to travel to another county, your odds of finding an open time slot increase.
In addition to St. Johns and Flagler, Publix stores with pharmacies in Volusia and Marion counties are likely within an hour or two-hour drive that you might be willing to make. (Full list of stores offering vaccines)
Despite a limited supply of vaccine that forced Jacksonville’s city-run sites to close last week, Publix adds more stores in more counties every week. On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Publix was adding stores in St Lucie and Indian River counties.
“Whether you get it at a drive-through site or you get it at your local Publix, the important thing is people are getting shots,” DeSantis said. “We want to get it so that it’s convenient to people and so you have a place to go without having to drive all over God’s green earth to get a shot.”
Currently in Jacksonville, the only place the public can get a first COVID-19 vaccine is at Regency Square. Call 1-866-200-3762 for an appointment.
As of Thursday, the Florida Department of Health reported 1,319,822 people in Florida have received their dose of the vaccine. Of those, 62,917 were given in Duval County, 25,211 in St. Johns County and 8,040 in Flagler County.
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