JeffCo Health officials say some callers are trying to skip the line for a COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Jan. 24, 2021 at 10:40 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Many people are looking forward to getting their COVID-19 vaccine and officials with the Jefferson County Department of health report a large number of calls

Dr. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Health Department said he has some concern from the clogged phone lines. He wants to make sure people who qualify for the vaccine right now can actually get through to make an appointment.

“We have people that are 75 years or older that have difficulty getting through the phone lines,” Dr. Hicks said. “We are getting a lot of requests that people want to jump line and skip the line. Everyone is trying to advocate for themselves to be at the front. We have a lot of teachers. We have a lot of transit workers. We have a lot of grocery store workers and they are itching to get in.”

But, he said calling early or trying to skip the line won’t work and it only makes it more difficult for those who can get vaccinated right now to get an appointment.

“I know we have a lot of people that really want to get the vaccine, but if you know your turn isn’t there yet, then it’d be great if you just wait a little bit,” Hicks said. “Let other people that really really need to get in immediately to get through the system. A lot of people can argue that they feel their group should be first or next, but there was a logic behind why the Feds have the order they have, so please don’t ask us if you can jump the line. Just please be patient. We are trying to get to you as quick as we can.”

He said vaccine supply is low and the department has more than 11,000 people in the 75 and older category that pre-registered for the shot.

“We know that we still have pent up demand and some unmet need of people who pre registered and there is still a portion of people that didn’t even pre register,” Hicks said. “Please do not call the health department or a hospital or whoever to try and skip and jump the line.”

Hicks said he knows many people are at high risk of catching the virus, but there’s a reason for the order.

“It’s to protect the people who have the highest risk of exposure and the highest risk of dying from COVID,” Hicks said. “That’s why the order is the way it is.”

Hicks said people who aren’t in the current vaccination phase should pre-register on the website instead of calling. He said this will help keep the system from getting clogged up.

Hicks said the call center and online form are just to pre- register for an appointment. He said when you qualify for a vaccine, they will take your name from the pre register list and contact you to book an appointment.

“It may take over a month before we can reach back out to you,” Hicks said.

He also suggests calling other health systems for a vaccine and signing up for the first appointment you can get

“There’s going to be multiple ways for people to get a vaccine appointment and whichever one you get first, go with it.”

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