PORT RICHEY – The initial supply of COVID-19 vaccination doses distributed to the Department of Health in Pasco County did not last long.
Demand to receive the first of two shots far exceeded the 3,500 doses the county obtained in late December and that lack of supply halted the registration process for residents. Front-line health care workers were the first to receive vaccinations in mid-December. Florida received 367,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 30, about three weeks after receiving 179,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Medical workers began inoculating Pasco County residents ages 65 and older on Dec. 31 at a drive-thru clinic set up outside the Sears at Gulf View Square Mall in Port Richey. DOH and Pasco County officials anticipated vaccinations and the registration process to continue through the end of last week. On Jan. 6, however, DOH-Pasco announced it was not accepting new appointments until further notice. Appointments to receive the remaining stock at that point were already filled, the announcement stated.
Residents who registered and received a notice that they were on a waitlist, but did not get vaccinated were to be notified by DOH-Pasco beginning last Wednesday. A DOH-Pasco update to its website advises residents that the state is in Phase 1 of the vaccination program and that will continue for “weeks and months.”
“Once additional doses of the vaccine are received, we will open the registration system to the public again,” the update reads.
In addition to vaccination registration being halted, health officials are warning residents about potential fraud attempts. Registration must be completed online using the website Eventbrite.com, which individuals access through the DOH-Pasco website. Health officials are warning that fake Eventbrite links exist that aim to obtain individuals’ personal information.
As of late last week, no dates were set for vaccinations to continue in Pasco County. The drive-thru clinic in Port Richey also remains the only vaccination location. DOH-Pasco stated plans to open more clinics throughout the county, but no further details have been provided.
For individuals who successfully registered and received the first vaccination dose, they are guaranteed an appointment for the second COVID-19 vaccine dose. DOH-Pasco will contact those individuals via email with a link to register for the second dose. Individuals without an email address are asked to bring the vaccination card they received when getting the first dose to the drive-thru site at Gulf View Square Mall on the date listed on the card.