Guilford County health officials working to ease vaccine appointment struggles

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Technical errors and system failures slowed down thousands of seniors in Guilford County trying to make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Guilford County launched its COVID-19 vaccination call center on Friday, and they are already making some upgrades. 

The county extended phone line services through the weekend. County employees will answer appointment calls Saturday Jan. 9, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Sunday Jan. 10, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Dozens of seniors reached out to FOX 8 on Friday. They were frustrated after spending hours on hold waiting to schedule an appointment. 

“You hang up, and you call again, and the number doesn’t work! It doesn’t go through,” Myriam Benitez said.

Benitez spent her Friday on the phone, along with thousands of other Guilford County seniors included in Phase 1B – Group 1. 

“I expected that it would be busy, but I had the number loaded already at 7:50 a.m., and when that computer went to 8:00 a.m., I dialed, and it was already busy. It was frustrating,” Karen Price said. 

Friday at 8 a.m., the county’s call center went live. And by noon, the county was reporting over 11,250 calls to the appointment line. 

Price was only able to schedule an appointment after emailing county officials. She says the long wait times are frustrating, but it’s encouraging to see this much interest in the vaccine. 

“The health department finally called me after I emailed someone. They said ‘this is unbelievable. We are just slammed.’ So yes, they were overwhelmed, and I do think it’s because everyone wants the vaccine because they want this whole thing to settle down,” Price said.

Individuals ages 75 and older can schedule an appointment online at healthyguilford.com or call (336) 641-7944. 

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