During the initial stages of the vaccine rollout, eligible individuals in the vast majority of states will need to schedule an appointment in order to get their vaccine. In most states, you will be required to schedule your appointment with your local health department. Walk-in appointments, at least in the initial phases of the vaccination drive, will not be allowed in the vast majority of states.
Many states have not begun to register anyone other than healthcare professionals and residents of nursing facilities for the vaccine, but recent guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will change that. In an attempt to get vastly more Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible, the CDC now says anyone 65 and older and those with a preexisting condition that makes them more susceptible to a severe reaction to the virus should get their vaccine as quickly as possible.
With these new guidelines, the number of people eligible to sign up for the vaccine will be greatly expanded to millions more Americans. Due to number of Americans who can now receive the vaccine, it is important to understand it may take some time before the infrastructure is set up to vaccinate the sheer number of people who are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
In the early stages of the vaccination drive, appointments in areas throughout the country filled up within minutes. That will very likely continue to be the case for at least some time, with some states faring better than others in rapidly increasing their vaccine numbers and other states lagging behind.
With the new CDC guidelines, the requirements to receive a vaccine will likely be very similar in each state. Again, anyone 65 and older and anyone with a preexisting condition that makes them more susceptible to a severe reaction to the virus are now eligible to receive their shots and should be able to schedule their appointment in the near future. Once a large portion of this group is vaccinated everyone aged 16-64 will then become eligible to signup for their vaccine.
So far, no state has enacted a walk-in or drive thru vaccination drive that doesn’t require an appointment, but that will very likely change in the coming weeks and months as sports stadiums, amusement parks, and state fair grounds begin to hold mass vaccination drives.
The first thing you need to do to get your first vaccine shot, at least during this point in the vaccination drive, is to schedule an appointment with your local health department. There have been reports of people getting turned away because they did not have appointments, so it is imperative to schedule an appointment and show up on the day you are told to. As more doses become available states may no longer require people to have appointments, but that will not be for some time.