FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — After a flood of calls to sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments, the Forsyth County Health Department has moved sign-ups for appointments to strictly be done online.
At the start of the year, with the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations, the health department received roughly 50,000 calls for sign-ups within a three-and-a-half-day period. After which the system for signs up was put on hold, while the department worked on establishing the infrastructure to accommodate the calls.
The department is working with a local call center company to set up that infrastructure to begin the over-the-phone process again. However, there is no set date for that.
In the meantime, appointments for the vaccination will only be accepted online.
While convenient for some, the move could leave some families, specifically in the minority communities, at a disadvantage of getting the vaccine. Forsyth County Health Director Joshua Swift stressed, “That is why we’re really working hard to get the phone option up.”
Historically, minority communities are less likely to have internet access.
That is why the health department is working with SMSI-Urban Call Center, local churches, and the Hispanic League in Winston-Salem.
Daniela Miranda with the league explained, many of those in the Hispanic community struggle to get internet access. She also described why there is hesitation for them to use the website, even if they do have internet. She said some of them don’t fully understand technology. “They know the basic part which is, you have to put your information in a device and somebody else is going to receive it. But, when you make a phone call you just tell them this and this and that’s it.”
The Hispanic League has set up a phone line to help those families who need help. Contact 336-701-6257.
As the health department works toward open the phone lines again, health leaders hope families and neighbors will help one another use their internet to sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
As of Jan. 9, these are the COVID-19 numbers for Forsyth County
- 22,184 cases
- 53.7% female
- 46.3% male
- 1.5 % Asian
- 19.3 % Black
- 24.8% Hispanic
- .2% Native America
- 42.4% White
- 12% unknown (did not check that box)
- Under 4years 2.5%
- 5-14 yrs 6.1 percent
- 15-24 yrs 18.7%
- 25-34 years 16.8%
- 35-44yrs 15.6%
- 45-54yrs 15.2%
- 55-64yrs 11.8%
- 65-74yrs 7.1%
- 75-84yrs 4%
- 85-94yrs 2.2%
- Greater than 95yrs is .2%