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Seniors trying to get COVID-19 vaccine say booking experience confusing, SLCO unveils new COVID-19 call center

(One of the vaccination lines inside the Mountain America Expo Center on Feb. 2, 2021. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SANDY, Utah – Health officials all over the state have given out well over 311,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, despite many people saying booking an appointment was a huge hassle.  One county is unveiling a new tool that can make it easier for people to get their vaccines.

Inside the Mountain America Expo Center, they have two different vaccine lines, depending on which dose they’re receiving.  Workers with bullhorns tell everyone where to go.  Some people say it took roughly 40 minutes to an hour to go through this process, but, once inside, people say things ran rather smoothly. 

One man says, “I thought they were very well organized.  People moved along well and they knew what they were doing.”

The reviews aren’t so flattering in Utah County.  Provo resident Ann Mineer says it took three hours to go through the process, and was told the county added 500 extra appointments at the last minute.  Her appointment was in Spanish Fork, and she says the building was cramped with not a lot of social distance between patients.

Mineer says, “There were so many people there with long, snaking lines going back and forth across the building,” she says.

The biggest headache of all, according to her, was booking the appointment.  It took her weeks for her to get one, with her children helping.  Mineer says other people in line had similar issues..

Davis County announces they have more vaccine doses

 “The woman I was standing by in the line had her children all over the world trying.  She finally had a daughter in Hawaii that got her the appointment,” she says.

In Salt Lake County, Pat and Stu Naisbitt had similar problems.  Pat Naisbitt says they tried three times to book an appointment on their own, and truly felt lost.

“It’s frustrating because we really felt we were out there in a jungle.  We didn’t really know where to go,” she says. 

In the end, their friend told them there were extra doses at the Mountain American Expo Center, so they booked a last-minute appointment.  Stu Naisbitt says they thought they signed up for text notifications, but never got one, even though their friend did.

He says, “I don’t think they anticipated that many people responding from that age group so quickly.  There is enough people that wanted that vaccine that they just overloaded their system.”

This week, Salt Lake County unveiled a new tool that is expected to make it easier for people to book their vaccinations.

Salt Lake County Health Department Deputy Director Dorothy Adams says, “The county is actually helping with creating a call center, so we’re redeploying people from all over the county to assist in that piece.”

Workers in that call center will be in charge of reaching out to everyone who is on the wait list to answer their questions about appointments.  The county is partnering with an outside company for this, but will redeploy some county employees to make things run smoothly.  Adams says this could clear up a lot of confusion, and redundant bookings.

“Some people triple-booked because they didn’t even know they had gotten into the system three times,” according to Adams.

 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

 

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