BRADENTON, Fla — Starting Thursday night, seniors in Manatee County will have to register for the COVID-19 vaccine using a new standby pool process.

What You Need To Know

  • Manatee County seniors will join a standby pool to sign up for a vaccine appointment

  • County does not have a consistent influx of vaccines arriving

  • New system goes live on Thursday at 10 p.m. Access it here

The idea is that by creating this pre-registration process, those 65 and older can avoid the rush of refreshing their webpages over and over in hopes of securing a spot.

The new system will go live at 10 p.m. on Thursday night and there are two ways to register:

  • Online: Two people at a time can join the standby pool by filling out an online form
  • By Phone: On weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seniors can call the county’s 311 Call Canter and join the pool by speaking to a representative.

The new digital link can be found here.

Once you enter the standby pool, a number of names will be pulled through randomized selection. From there, 311 representatives will use those names and call pre-registered seniors to help them book an appointment.

“It’s going to take a little while for them to work out the bugs,” said resident Mike Sansone. “But this is maybe the first step in the right direction.”

Jake Saur, Public Safety Director for Manatee County, said that they don’t have a consistent flow of vaccines coming into the county. Until that happens, they cannot widen their partnerships to include additional distribution sites.

“I can tell you that today the state of Florida today let us know that they’re only getting 240,000 doses for the entire state of Florida next week. I do not believe anyone is going to be ramping up vaccines anytime soon,” he said.

The county plans to continue their current drive-through distribution plan using Bennett Park.