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Tampa Bay counties launch new online portal to get more people vaccinated

HILLSBOROUGH, Fla. — Bay Area counties are introducing a new registration system after the push to vaccinate seniors is moving slower than expected.

After a shaky start to the coronavirus vaccine rollout, several Tampa Bay counties are using a new online portal to get more people inoculated.

Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties have signed contracts with CDR Health Care for an online portal.

“They have had experience with handling COVID testing, so they are bringing that experience on the vaccination front. So, there’s some improvements and benefits to this system,” said Iñaki Rezola, with the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Office of Emergency Management.

After creating an account residents can then schedule an appointment online or by calling one of the various call centers.

“An improvement from last week where there was just one call center that had been set up then we had to support it with county staff the next day. They actually have a redundancy they have like two or three call centers,” Rezola said.

Hillsborough County began using the new intake software yesterday. So far 9,000 people have been able to make appointments through the portal for the county’s second-round COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The portal will also track doses.

“The reason that you’re having websites crash and long line all over the state is because you simply don’t have enough of the vaccine. So, for instance we’ve got about 10 or 11,00 doses that we’re going to be providing next, well we’ve got about 250,000 seniors above 65,” said Barry Burton, Pinellas County Administrator

Pinellas Government plans to launch the portal later this week, so it can begin distributing its latest shipment.

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