County Modifies COVID-19 Appointment Process to Meet Demands
Guilford County, NC - Guilford County launched its COVID-19 vaccination call center today, Friday, January 8, 2021 to begin distribution for Phase 1B – Group 1 (individuals over the age of 75) starting Monday of next week. Due to the unprecedented high demand from our community, the county faced intial system failures and extended call waiting times for those seeking vaccination appointments.
By noon the County reported receiving over 11,250 calls to the appointment line. The county took immediate action Friday morning to expand its scheduling capacities both by adding additional staffing and extending phone line services through the weekend, and by creating an online appointment scheduling tool.
County employees will be available to answer appointment calls Saturday January 9 between 8:00am and 5:00pm and Sunday January 10 between 1 pm and 5pm, before resuming normal business hours next week.
The County now offers online appointment scheduling to help expedite the scheduling process. Members of the community can schedule appointments by going to www.healthyguilford.com
Dr. Iulia Vann, Guilford County Division of Public Health, Health Director commented, “I am encouraged to see that so many members of our community are taking steps to ensure that they are properly vaccinated, as this is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Guilford County. We continue to follow a phased approach towards vaccination, as required by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). We ask that everyone please be patient as we work to identify challenges and streamline efforts within the registration process. I urge everyone to continue to practice the 3 W’s: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance as we work together to keep Guilford County a safe and healthy place to live.”
Guilford County receives weekly allocations of vaccine dosages from NCDHHS. As the allocations are received the County can add additional appointments options for the vaccine clinics. As NCDHHS allows for additional phases to continue, the County will continue to expand its vaccination clinics.
It is important to remind those receiving vaccines that they must receive both the initial vaccine and the booster shot in order optimize the effectiveness of the vaccine. At the time of initial vaccination staff onsite will schedule the second shot appointment.
Heather Skeens, Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Director stated, “We realize that it is important to our citizens in the 75 and older age group to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. We understand that everyone is eager to schedule their appointment and apologize for the long phone wait times. On average on our first day we saw over 1500 people in the phone queue. We have been working through the calls as quickly as possible. It is important that those not included in Phase 1B- Group 1 (ages 75 and older) should not be calling the appointment line at this time.”
The County’s goal is to offer up to 500 vaccinations each day of the week; roughly 250 appointments at each site per day. Appointment slots are still available for the week of January 11th with appointment lines open through the weekend and online scheduling available 24/7 while appointments last. Residents are encouraged to monitor www.healthyguilford.com for more information on the vaccination distribution phases and to which phase the county is currently under.