Palm Beach County takes vaccine requests by email after phone system ‘absolutely died’

Wells Dusenbury, South Florida Sun Sentinel

After its phone system “absolutely died,” Palm Beach County says it will accept COVID-19 vaccination requests only through email for the near future.

On Monday, Palm Beach County’s Department of Health announced that the appointment phone line is “full and closed” and that it’s transitioning to a new “website-based” appointment system.

Those who are 65 or older are instructed to email with their name, phone number and date of birth to set up a vaccine appointment. Vaccines will not be given without an appointment.

“All emails are being received and will be contacted in order with further instructions as appointments slots and options become available,” the Department of Health posted on its website. “Vaccination appointments are based on dosage availability, we appreciate your continued patience.”

A representative for the Palm Beach County Department of Health did not respond to requests for comment.

Since beginning vaccine inoculations, Palm Beach County has been inundated with requests, leading to a breakdown in its scheduling procedure. During a news conference on Dec. 31, Dr. Alina Alonso, Palm Beach County’s Health Department director, said they were forced to make “alternative plans to our telephone system that absolutely died on us.”

“The system is not made to get thousands and thousands of calls per minute,” Alonso said.

“It’s just a matter of too many people calling in at the same time. We’ve put in another system in place, in addition to the phone calls, we’ve got a data system that we’re working on that will allow us in to implement into the Florida system that will allow us to keep track of the appointments.”

According to the state data, Palm Beach County has distributed the first vaccine dose to 12,983 people.