Following what Guilford County government officials are calling “unprecedented” demand for the coronavirus vaccine, the county has modified the way appointments are made.
The massive demand for the COVID-19 vaccine overwhelmed 13 phone lines and 13 staffers that the county had dedicated for that purpose on Friday, Jan. 8 – the first day that Guilford County residents age 75 or older could call in to set up an appointment to get the vaccine.
Due to the demand that exceeded even the county’s highest expectations the phone tree system failed and, when it was working, there were extremely long wait times for those seeking vaccination appointments.
By noon on Friday, Guilford County had received over 11,250 calls to its appointment lines. That morning, the county expanded its scheduling capacities by adding additional staff to take calls and by extending the phone service through the weekend.
County staff also set up an online appointment scheduling tool.
Under the new plan, county employees will be available to answer appointment calls on Saturday, Jan. 9 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 10 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Those lines will also be open during normal business hours next week.
The website for scheduling an appointment to get inoculated is www.healthyguilford.com.
Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann, commented in a press release announcing the change in plans: “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.”
She encouraged everyone to work together to make the vaccine roll out as efficient as possible.
“We ask that everyone please be patient as we work to identify challenges and streamline efforts within the registration process,” Vann stated. “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.”