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Public Health urges patience during the initial surge of calls for COVID-19 vaccinations

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health has received an overwhelming amount of interest since announcing that it would begin Group 1 of Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which is for seniors age 75 and older.

On Monday, Public Health had 10 staff members answering calls that booked more then 400 appointments for Wednesday, but some callers found the lines were busy and had to call back. More staff has been brought in to answer calls. Staff has added a queue that callers will be placed in to wait instead of getting a message to call back.

High call volumes will still result in long wait times for callers and Public Health’s supply of vaccine is limited. The vaccinations won’t be operating at a larger scale until more vaccine is available in February. Staff is working to improve the appointment process and plans to add on line options when it has more vaccine. While the supply is currently limited, Public Health continues to receive shipments of COVID-19 vaccines and will be able to vaccinate everyone who falls into each Phase over the next several months.

Public health has been doing COVID-19 vaccinations almost every day since receiving its first shipment on Dec. 23, following the proper storage and usage guidelines for each vaccine.

“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and are working hard to provide access to vaccines to all our residents,” said Deputy County Manager Shantell Robinson. “The demand is overwhelming and supply is limited, but there are many staff members working hard seven days a week to serve our community. We ask for your continued patience as we navigate these unchartered waters.”

The vaccine appointment line is 336-703-2081 and is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sat. and Sun. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Only those in Group 1 of Phase 1b or in Phase 1a should call at this time, so as not to unnecessarily tie up the phone lines. It’s important for individuals to attend their appointment or cancel at least two hours in advance.