Health Department officials in northwest Georgia tell us that requests for appointments are coming in "at a far greater rate than we can schedule," although they say the computer appointment system held up on Monday. But they were forced to close the site down due to the demand.
Officials now ask that people make appointments for COVID-19 vaccines by reaching out directly to their local health departments.
"Expect difficulty getting through. Be persistent," DPH official Logan Boss tells us.
Spokeswoman Jennifer King says, "Our website is having difficulties with the server becoming overloaded, so we announced last week that we have a call center hotline for people to dial if they are eligible to receive a vaccine and want to register an appointment for it through public health in our health district. Their appointment will be at the health department in the county where they live or work: 1-888-881-1474 and it is open from 8:15 to 4:30 weekdays. We are receiving thousands of calls there a day. So we are experiencing some delays on the hot line and are asking people to be patient and assuring them that they will get through to get their appointment arranged as soon as possible"
Read the full Georgia Department of Health release below:
"The Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District has closed its online registration portal for adults 65 and older and their caregivers to register to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments. If you already registered online to be notified to schedule an appointment, please know we have that information and will contact you just as soon as possible.
All COVID-19 immunizations are by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call your local county health department. For health department phone numbers, go to nwgapublichealth.org and click on the county name at the top of the page.
If you have difficulty reaching your health department, please be patient and persistent. Keep calling.
Please do not call the health department or show up at the health department asking about previous registrations. Be assured you will be contacted sooner or later if you have already registered.
We had to close online registration because the number of registrations we were receiving was increasing at a far greater rate than we are capable of scheduling appointments to immunize people with our limited vaccine supply.
Our online registration portal for healthcare providers, workers, and first responders, however, remains active. You can find that portal at nwgapublichealth.org. If you use the online registration for healthcare providers, workers, and first responders, please make sure you register correctly and completely.
Vaccine supply at the moment in Northwest Georgia remains very limited. We are uncertain how long it might be before it increases enough to allow us to notify you. Please be patient. We will notify you immediately when there is adequate vaccine available for your immunization."
Depend on us to keep you posted as we learn more.
DPH says the tool allows users to search by county for a vaccine provider in their community and provides location and contact information for the provider.
According to DPH, county health departments and private providers are included in the locator. New statewide locations will be added when providers are able to safely administer the vaccine and as vaccine supply allows. Appointments are needed to get the vaccine, and DPH warns a limited vaccine supply may make it hard to immediately get a time slot.
DPH confirms Georgia will be in phase 1A+ of vaccine administration on January 11. That phase includes:
- Healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, EMS personnel, laboratory technicians, environmental services, etc.)
- Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
- Adults aged 65+ and their caregivers, as applicable
- Law enforcement, firefighters, 9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders.
Because the process of giving the COVID19 vaccine is different from other common vaccines, DPH says providers are required to have more resources available, including an area where people who get the shot can be monitored for 15 minutes after. Many providers with the vaccine are still vaccinating their own staffs and patients and are not open to the public for vaccination yet.