Phones, web overwhelmed as vaccine reservations begin

Coronavirus

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- On Tuesday, many seniors in the Charlotte area were frustrated that they couldn’t get through to make their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

It only took thirty minutes for Mecklenburg County to book all of its appointments this morning for the next week and a half. The county opened up more slots, but many people are still waiting for their spots.

“I kept calling and kept calling it was the same thing, you couldn’t even get through,” Ray Morgan said.

Morgan, who is 77 years old, desperately wants his COVID-19 vaccine, but he says the online system crashed and he couldn’t get through on the Mecklenburg County hotline either to make an appointment this morning.

“It’s just a mess. It doesn’t look good on our government,” Morgan said.

Mecklenburg County Public Health says they got inundated today–the first day they opened the phone lines and online systems to let people 75 and older make vaccine appointments.

“We know that when you open up something to 20,000 people in the community and many of them call at one time that things could potentially go wrong, so we have had challenges with people not being able to get through and we apologize for that,” Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said.

The county says it’s working with its IT department to increase call capacity and handle any online issues.

Mecklenburg has received just under 3,000 doses so far, and by the end of day Tuesday, the county expected to give out more than 2,000.

Morgan is hoping to get his shot soon.

“We’ve got the vaccine now it looks like they could get it out to the people which is so urgent with all the deaths that we’re having in the country, so it’s frustrating.”

Mecklenburg County says they’re booking upwards of 350 appointments a day, six days a week.

Around 5 p.m. Tuesday the county announced that all of the appointments through Jan. 30 have been filled.

They say as vaccine supply increases, additional appointments will be added and residents will be notified. The process of requesting an appointment will be the same.

The county says in the meantime, those over 75 are encouraged to reach out to their primary care providers to discuss other options for receiving the vaccine. 

Both Atrium Health and Novant Health will be offering vaccines to patients in this phase.

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