ADPH: State working to improve COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling

How to get your vaccine

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re clearing up confusion tonight about who to call to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you’re not healthcare, a first responder or at least 75 years old, now is not the time to call to get an appointment for COVID vaccination. The vaccination schedule is still in phase 1A which means everyone else needs to wait to get an appointment. The state department of health says calls from those who did not qualify for phase 1A contributed to the phone lines jamming up.

The state reports adding more staff to take calls as more people are now allowed to sign up to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

To combat the massive number of calls, Dr. Karen Landers, with the Alabama Department of Health says each district divided the load among local health departments. For some people, that’s where the confusion began, due to each county having a different number.

Landers says they’re also working to streamline the process even more but there are challenges.

The first idea is to utilize drive-thru vaccinations.

“Persons have to be in a 15-30 minute observation, so we don’t want them to drive off,” Landers said.

Landers said, for the time being, vaccinations must remain by appointment.

“We really don’t want people to be standing outside in the cold or camping outside,” she explains.

The state is considering adding online scheduling as an option but it’s going to take longer than they anticipated, according to Landers.

“We are working on the online portal. I was hoping that it would be up and running quicker than it is. But, at this point, we’re probably looking at another couple of weeks.”

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