The Lincoln County Health Dept. began its COVID-19 vaccination program for senior citizens 75 and older on Wednesday of this week (Jan. 6th). The rollout was preceded by a news release Monday (Jan. 4th). In that news release, residents who qualified for the Phase 1B, group 1 (75 and over) were asked to call 704-479-2202.
The first snag was that a high volume of calls left that number not able to handle the calls. The same has happened with several other counties who were asking people to call to make appointments.
Multiple callers to the Lincoln Herald and several emails from senior citizens who had tried to call to make an appointment caused us to try the number ourselves. If you call it, you'll hear a recorded message that lasts about a minute and a half. A part of that message says that they are no longer accepting voicemails about appointments and suggests that you try again later.
When and where will the next clinics be held? We asked that question in an email to the Health Dept. Director Davin Madden offered the following response to our query:
"For now we have decided to not take voicemails because the number of people were leaving several each which resulted combing through hours of voicemails and having to then sort duplicates. Also, some people walked in to make appointments after leaving their names which resulted in staff essentially wasting valuable time on voicemails to minimal benefit. Due to this, we have opted to forego Covid-19 vaccination appointments from voicemails. We are asking people to call in to make their appointment. Although I recognize this is cumbersome due to the volume of calls trying to get through each day, we have to manage the number of appointments because of the limited vaccine supply. In addition, we have to assure the schedule permits the 28 day return recipients while the other phases roll out over the months of February, March and April. I don’t want to forecast too far out because the notification on vaccine shipments and quantity are still uncertain and our notifications are given in a short window of time.
"We’re asking everyone to be patient and understand this will take some time to reach everyone interested, which is based on supply and manpower. We’re also going to put some more information up on the county’s website. We’re using Facebook as well as media outlets for press releases. We’ll be putting out press releases that indicate our vaccine schedules, operating times, and other activities around vaccine distribution."
The best advice we (the Lincoln Herald) can offer is to continue periodically calling the COVID response line (704-479-2202) and watch the Lincoln Herald and the Health Department's Facebook page for updates. We have posted a link to the earlier news release at the bottom of this page so you can see information about the various phases of vaccinations, etc.
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