ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – Walmarts rollout of COVID-19 vaccine at nearly 120 stores across the state was not without its hiccups.
During the sign-up period, the retail chain’s website allowed Florida residents under 65, but deemed extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 by hospital providers, to register for appointments.READ MORE: CBS4 Photojournalist Rafael Murciano Is Quite 'The Entertainer' With His Musical Talents
State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said this week his office worked with people under 65 with comorbidities to sign up on Walmart’s website.
“We got them appointments and then it was discovered that Walmart actually made a mistake and so what has happened, they have halted new appointments on their website for medically vulnerable younger than 65,” he said.
On Friday, Walmart joined Winn-Dixie and Publix in offering the Moderna vaccine. Governor Ron DeSantis has made vaccinating seniors and front line health care workers the priority.
Smith said he spoke with a representative for Walmart who acknowledged the mistake, saying he predicts several thousand people signed up before Walmart changed the requirements on its online portal.
In explaining the mistake, Walmart said the scheduling program defaulted to the criteria on the Department of Health website. They added that they didn’t know how many people registered for the vaccine but promised to honor all who did.READ MORE: Dolphin Legend & Humanitarian Nat Moore Honored With Mural In Overtown
Smith said with so many people desperate to get a vaccine, this type of mistake can be discouraging.
“It’s extremely frustrating and sends a mixed message, but you know we don’t want these people to give up hope. There is still hope,” he said.
Twenty-five thousand doses of the vaccine are being split up among select Florida Walmarts. That’s in addition to the 325,000 doses that DeSantis said they received this week.
In hard-hit Miami-Dade County, only two Walmart locations are getting the vaccine – one site in Hialeah and one in Miami Gardens.
Walmart vaccine locations in Broward are in the following cities: Cooper City, Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, and a Sam’s Club in Sunrise.MORE NEWS: Customer Loyalty During The Pandemic Helped Some Mom & Pop Businesses Survive
Eligible people wanting to get the vaccine must make an appointment. The shots are free.