Onslow County officials say they are flooded with calls for COVID-19 vaccine


JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Onslow County Citizens Phone bank will be closed until Monday to allow staff to help with scheduling appointments for those who will get COVID-19 vaccinations.

Officials said the phone bank won’t be available Thursday or Friday for new reservations. In the meantime, people not registered can click here for information about how to register for the vaccine.

The phone bank will reopen Monday at 8 a.m.

“This will allow all available staff to schedule appointments for those who previously called and help the county transition to a more streamlined scheduling system,” officials said in a press release on Wednesday.

The main reason for the this is because Onslow Memorial Hospital is sharing 975 doses of COVID-19 vaccine with the county. It sounds like a sale as everything must go to make room for more doses.

“We’re actually going to take folks who were a little bit scheduled out, and to be able to move our calendar and advance it a little bit, so folks can get vaccinated more quickly,” said Lisa Whitman-Grace, who works at the call center.

“You have to use all of your vaccines before you get more vaccines.”

It won’t be known until Friday of the week before the delivery of vaccines just how many each county will receive, officials said. Based upon expected current dosage availability, previously registered and eligible callers will now be assigned newly available appointments. The new appointments are based on the expected vaccines to be received next week.

Onslow County is also getting help from the National Guard, from transporting vaccines to giving shots and keeping all the records.

“They helped us make sure that everything was in perfect order, so that when we take it to the clinic, it’s good to go,” Whitman-Grace said.

Staff manning the Onslow County Citizens Phone Bank are normally assigned other jobs. Additionally, other staff has been reassigned tasks associated with the administration of the vaccine. The closure will allow the existing staff to dedicate time to the newly available appointments and to learn the new software.

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