COVID-19: St. Johns County to take over COVID-19 vaccine rollout

COVID-19: County leaders announce changes to vaccine rollout

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Major changes are are coming to St. Johns County’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as county leaders announce they’ll be taking over administering the shots in place of the health department.

The health department in St. Johns County, along with county leaders, are calling the project a “partnership” and say they’re excited to be working together. The health department will still be the lead agency, but the county will handle the vaccine rollout.

Sunday will be the last day seniors can get the vaccine at the health department on a first come first served basis.

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The county announced Saturday it’ll begin giving out vaccines Monday at the Solomon Calhoun Center.

”They need a better system, giving out the appointments,” Sharlette Cook said.

That’s been the general consensus all week, and Cook is right: the county announced vaccines will be given by appointment only now.

”I think it’s great; it alleviates some of the confusion and there’s a lot of confusion right now,” Cook added.

The county plans to vaccinate about 200 people Monday — people, the county says are already on the waiting list.

”Appointments are not being made for future dates as of yet,” county administrator Hunter Conrad said.

Conrad says the county is expecting more vaccines next week, and once those doses are available, people can start registering.

Action News Jax reporter Stephanie Bennett asked for the county’s reassurance that its system wouldn’t crash when people go to register.

”We’ve already started crash-testing it to determine whether or not it will,” Conrad said, adding that the county has IT members standing by.

”We want to make sure especially those who are in our vulnerable populations are being vaccinated as quickly as they can and as quickly as they want to be,” Conrad added.

You can text SJCVACCINE to 888777 for the latest updates on the vaccine rollout and registration process.

The county says once it starts taking appointments, it’ll give vaccines out at the Solomon Calhoun Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. First doses will be given out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and second doses will eventually be given on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Several viewers have asked Action News Jax why only a couple hundred vaccines were given out each day. The health department and county both said it all boils down to “manpower.”

The health department added that one vaccine administrator can give 20 vaccines an hour, with a 15-minute wait period after each injection to make sure the patient doesn’t have a reaction.

The St. Johns County Fire Department will begin taking in 20 people every 30 minutes at the Solomon Calhoun Center starting Monday when the county takes over the rollout process.