You may still register your name into the standby pool, regardless if you're not given a January 14 appointment.By Casey Albritton

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Manatee County has received another one thousand doses of COVID-19 vaccinations which they plan to administer as soon as Thursday. With this announcement comes a more simplified process of scheduling an appointment to receive the vaccine.

To register for the vaccine, officials with Manatee County say all you have to do is go to the county’s website, click ‘Register Now’, fill out your information and then you’re entered into a standby pool. From there, members of the standby pool will be randomly selected and called to receive an COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

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Manatee County resident, Chuck Litchenwalner received his vaccine more than a week ago and says his friends who were older than 65 are waiting to be selected from the random standby pool. “None of them are anxious because they too are being very careful in their – with their lifestyle to ensure that they are well until they begin to get their immunizations.”

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The spokesperson with Manatee County, Nicholas Azzara says with the previous registration system, so many people were logging on trying to get an appointment, the website was freezing and phone lines were down. “So we decided to do what we could to take away that rush again and to create this this waiting list of people. We’ve tried to communicate all along that just because you’re first [to register on the website] doesn’t entitle you to the first shot [on-site].”

Azzara says when you register, you are assigned a number. “All the people [registered] in the pool are populating an Excel spreadsheet and then they’re randomizing those names.”
The Manatee County Health Department says about 95,000 people are enrolled in the vaccine standby pool and if you have been selected for an appointment, the 3-1-1 Center will give you a call. Azzara adds, “We can only ask for people to be patient.”

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Litchenwalner says while his friends are waiting for their vaccines, they are still taking precautions. “Most of my friends are like me, I isolated. I have not been in inside a restaurant in a year, almost. I go to the grocery store maybe twice a week. Masks. Gloved. I’m extremely careful.”

Health officials say if you are having trouble registering online, instead you can pick up the phone and dial 3-1-1 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays to register instead.
Manatee County has 1,000 vaccines available and will administer them Thursday in a drive-through vaccination site at Bennett Park. County officials are unsure when more COVID vaccines will arrive.

Manatee County residence is not required, but vaccine recipients must remain in or return to Manatee County for their second dose (28 days after the first appointment). NOTE: Vaccine eligibility is determined at the state level by the Governor’s requirements.

Please be aware that fraudulent websites are marketing COVID-19 vaccines to the Manatee County public. Do not register for a vaccine using any link other than through this web page. Registration is free.

This post was originally published on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.

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