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Anger, Confusion As COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist Grows In Palm Beach County

Dr Alonso 2:2 commission meeting.png
Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County Director, Alina Alonso at Palm Beach County commission meeting, February 2, 2021

Palm Beach County officials are grappling with an increasingly long local and state waitlist for the COVID-19 vaccine.

People have been signing up to multiple waitlists in the county, and in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, as a hedge against the slow vaccine rollout.

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Speaking at a county commission meeting Tuesday, county health director Dr. Alina Alonso says signing up in multiple counties will backfire.

"The system is going to knock you off and leave you with the last place that you signed up for," Alonso said. "So if you signed up for Miami two months ago and now you jump on that list and signed up again for West Palm Beach or Palm Beach County, you’re going to be knocked off the Miami site."

Alonso says there are around one million people on the statewide vaccine waitlist system.

She warns local residents that the state’s automated system is not an appointment site.

"We’re not going to start calling those people for appointments because we still have the waitlist that we have," Alonso said. "If they go on that site for Palm Beach County, they’re just going to have to wait until we get to them. Then we can start using it to do appointments for Palm Beach County."

In the meantime, the county health department is telling residents to check their spam folders for possible replies from the waitlist.

Wilkine Brutus is a reporter and producer for WLRN and a guest faculty member at the Poynter Institute. The South Florida native produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs.