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Vaccine registration process changes for local residents

| Wendy Victora Rudman
Santa Rosa County has turned over the COVID-19 vaccination registration process to the state, which will change the way people sign up.

The new process is for county residents to call an automated call center and register. Only county residents can register at 866-201-7110 and each individual must register separately, with a unique device and email address.

“We were just blessed to be the first one in the Panhandle,” Public Safety Director Brad Baker said Thursday during a Facetime live about the change.

Part-time residents, including snowbirds, might be allowed to register if they can provide proof of part-time registry.

That number connects to a call center only for Santa Rosa County.

The county has turned over the 8,700 names on its waiting list, but only those who meet the residency criteria will be called for shots. The calls to set up appointments – currently at the rate of about 1,500 a week – will be made from call centers across the country. Everyone who is not a Santa Rosa County resident has been removed from the waitlist, he said.

Public Safety Director Brad Baker said that although it’s common for people not to answer their phones for unknown numbers, they should reconsider that if they are on the waiting list. If someone doesn’t answer the phone, they will remain on the list but miss that chance at an appointment, he said.

“If you are blocking your phone, you probably want to unblock it,” he said. “They are not going to leave a message.”

Only those who are 65 and older or health care providers who have yet to receive a vaccination are eligible at this time in Florida, per Governor Ron DeSantis’s order.  

As of Thursday, the county had administered more than 15,000 vaccines, with two-thirds of those given to those 65 and older.

Baker and Sandy Park-O’Hara, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County, said officials had learned some lessons during the first month of providing vaccines.

They reminded people to speak to their medical provider if they had any questions about interactions with their conditions or medications. He also said they cannot give shots to anyone who has had a vaccination of any kind within the past 14 days. That includes shots for flu and shingles, he said.

Individuals should not take Tylenol or Motrin within six hours of the shot.

After individuals are notified of an appointment, they will get a QR code texted or emailed to them. That code – one per person and per vaccination – should be brought to the appointment, ether on a device like a cell phone or printed out.

Many of those who received their first shots in Santa Rosa County already have a second shot scheduled and that does not change with the transition to the new system. Individuals who got their first shot between Jan. 10and Jan. 20 will be receiving calls to schedule second shots.

If you are on the waiting list but got your shot somewhere else, email and let them know.