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Florida sells vaccination tickets on site that used to advertise concerts

Using the online event platform Eventbrite was the easiest way to organize vaccinations in a short timeframe, officials said. The Verge.

Photo: Shutterstock

Health departments in many Florida counties use the Eventbrite event website to schedule community visits for COVID-19 vaccinations. Officials told The Verge that the platform was the easiest way to get vaccinations up and running quickly.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared all adults over 65 a priority group for vaccination on par with healthcare providers and long-term care residents, violating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for prioritizing vaccines (which states that key workers should have priority access).

This opened up access to vaccines for more than 4 million people in the state, although supplies were still limited, creating huge demand. The state did not have a distribution system. Local health departments have been tasked with creating their own vaccine distribution systems.

On the subject: Californian hospital vaccinated 850 people against coronavirus in two hours

Authorities in Brevard County, on the state's east coast, have revealed they will be given COVID-28 vaccines on December 19. The Department of Health originally planned to use telephone lines to schedule vaccinations. But on the first day of the opening of the queue, people could not get through the number. Jessie Rae, County Social Media, Marketing and Communications Specialist, noticed that Eventbrite was being used elsewhere in the state.

“I said that is how we should act,” she told The Verge. "This is the only option we have, the fastest, easiest and most effective way we can think of to help the health department address this issue right now."

Within 24 hours after launching ads on Eventbrite all vaccination sites in the district were occupied for the first batch of vaccine.

Photo: screenshot eventbrite.com

According to Christopher Tittel, director of public affairs for the state health department, Manati County officials used Eventbrite as a way to quickly distribute vaccines. Emergency Management officials were already familiar with the platform.

“The state is directing all counties to release the vaccine as soon as possible,” he told The Verge in an email. The sooner the doses are distributed, the sooner the district will receive additional doses.

According to Ray, Eventbrite has performed well in Brevard County so far. However, there was one small mistake: all registration questions were mandatory, including the question of pregnancy or breastfeeding. A lot of people didn't answer this question.

“They were either men or people over 65,” Ray says. "But overall, people said it was easy."

The district plans to use the system for the next vaccine distribution and hopes that the telephone lines will also work.

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A system like Eventbrite (or any other online platform) is only available to people with Internet access. The most important thing is to navigate quickly enough to take seats before they are full. Relying on these systems for the speed of vaccine spread means that poor and colored communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 may be at the very end.

Ray is aware of this problem.

“We know there are people who can't make an appointment,” she says. "But we needed to start vaccinations as soon as possible."

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