Florida has launched a statewide preregistration system to schedule Covid-19 vaccine appointments for people 65 and older and frontline healthcare workers, the state’s health department said Friday.
Individuals can preregister for vaccine appointments and be notified when appointments are available in their area, according to a Florida Department of Health news release.
The department’s website will also allow those who are eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine to be contacted when vaccine appointments are available at state-supported vaccination sites.
The move comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis opened up access to the vaccine to anyone 65 and older, which led to overwhelming demand and little organization as to how to distribute the vaccine.
Thousands of seniors have waited in long lines for hours, some even sleeping overnight in lawn chairs for the chance to get vaccinated.
Under Executive Order 20-315, only long-term care facility residents and staff, as well as people 65 and older and health care personnel with direct patient contact, will be able to preregister for vaccine appointments on the new system.
Florida last week issued new guidelines stipulating that only permanent and seasonal residents can get the vaccine – an attempt to cut down on “vaccine tourism.” The directive comes after tens of thousands of people from out of state were vaccinated, according to data from the state health department.
The state reported 10,976 new coronavirus cases and 229 Covid-19 related deaths on Friday. In total, Florida has witnessed almost 1.7 million cases and 26,685 deaths, according to the health department’s data.
CNN’s Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.