ADPH explains COVID-19 vaccine hotline purpose after 338,000 calls in one day

ADPH explains COVID-19 vaccine hotline purpose after 338,000 calls in one day
COVID vaccine hotlines flooded with calls

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State and local hotlines for information on the COVID-19 vaccines have been flooded with calls this week.

With a very limited amount of vaccine available statewide, people want to know how long until it’s their turn. At the state level, the phone has been ringing off the hook -- a whopping 338,000 calls in one day.

“We expected demand,” said Dr. Karen Landers, with ADPH.

But there has been some confusion about what the hotline is for, which is just appointments for those who qualify.

“Healthcare workers, persons 75 years of age and older, and also firefighters and police,” she listed. “This is for the Alabama Department of Public Health, persons who choose to be vaccinated with us.”

They can’t tell you if a local urgent care or pharmacy will be offering shots. There are 2 private health departments in Alabama, including Jefferson County, and they have their own hotline.

Jefferson County’s EMA is trying to answer all COVID-19 vaccine questions.

“If we cannot answer their questions we put them in contact with people who can,” said Jefferson County EMA’s Melissa Sizemore.

After today’s heavy volume, the state hotline will be adding more staff.

The state’s number is 1-855-566-5333. It’s staffed 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Jefferson County’s number is 205-85VACC1 (205-858-2221) or text INFOJEFFCO to 888777.

They are also begging people not to call hospitals about vaccine appointments because switchboards are overloaded.

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