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NHC Coronavirus Call Center facing heavy call volume for COVID-19 appointments, appointments currently full

Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 5:07 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Since announcing the transition to the next phase of the vaccination plan, New Hanover County Public Health has scheduled 3,000 individual appointments over the coming days. All appointments are now full through Tuesday, January 12 for the current vaccine supply.

“There are around 17,000 people who are 75 and older in New Hanover County,” said Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko. “And we are trying to get to as many of them as possible, as quickly as we can—but we can only vaccinate as many people as the doses we have. We hope to receive an additional supply from the state next week, but at this time we don’t know when or how many that will be.”

Until vaccine supplies are replenished, New Hanover County is no longer taking appointments. Once additional vaccine is received from the state next week, further time slots will be available to individuals in Phase 1a and Phase 1b, Group 1.

Residents trying to get through to the New Hanover County Coronavirus Call Center to set up appointment faced long wait times and busy signals Wednesday due to the influx in calls.

“We are experiencing a high call volume at our Coronavirus Call Center this morning, and I know some of you have been contacted about people not being able to get through. We have 20 call takers in our center helping residents who are 75 and older schedule a time slot to be vaccinated, but with hundreds calling, there will be a wait time,” according to New Hanover County officials.

Callers getting busy signals were asked to continue calling until they were able to get an answer.

“They will then hear a brief message from the center, and then they will need to wait on the line for the next available scheduler. We are working quickly and efficiently, but there is a high demand for the vaccine and a high number of calls, so we ask for everyone’s patience,” according to the county.

Officials later announced on Facebook at noon that all county phone lines were down while they were working to expand call center operations to assist with answering covid-related questions and scheduling appointments for vaccinations.

“Our IT department is working hard to try to expand the capacity. We are hoping this issue will be resolved ASAP and will update when the phones are operating again,” the Facebook post stated.

Residents 75 years old and older can start receiving the vaccine on Jan. 7, but need to set up an appointment first.

“To receive a vaccine time slot, call the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, open Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. For more about Phase 1b, Group 1: Health.NHCgov.com/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine,” according to the county.

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