Phone calls overload COVID-19 vaccine call center

Local News

KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Many Kanawha County seniors have run into several issues while trying to make an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department began vaccinating those 65 years and older today by appointment only. On Wednesday, the health department opened a call center to set appointments.

Call volume was expected to be high, but not as high as what they got.

KCHD Executive Director, Dr. Sherri Young said the phones were overloaded, which left people on hold for hours, disconnected or unable to get through.

Fifteen people were staffed to answer the phones, but lack of manpower at the call center was not the issue, it was the lack of available resources.

The number of vaccines ready for administration at today’s vaccination clinic did not meet the high demand. The health department only takes enough calls for the number of vaccines available, so they don’t overschedule.

“This is the same thing that we experienced very early on in the pandemic with testing and so we had very few tests, but a lot of people who wanted and needed to be tested. Right now, we have 180,000 people needing and wanting vaccines and we’re going to get to that point, it’s just right now that availability just isn’t there,” said Dr. Young.

Health officials also say people continue to call to schedule appointments, while there are no appointments open at this time, so calls are not being taken. When additional doses of the vaccine are available, the call center will reopen when an announcement is made.

KCHD is also working to roll out new ways to schedule vaccine appointments, which they hope to announce soon. In the meantime, health officials ask that you bear with them.

For any questions and updates, visit the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s website.

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