SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Coastal Health District debuted a new online portal to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations. Their appointments were paused for weeks after their call center was overwhelmed. Today’s launch online not only helps streamline the process, but also gives you the ability to check for open slots frequently.
It proved that vaccine appointments are still highly desired throughout the Coastal Health District. The online portal made more than 4,200 appointments in the span of three hours. That said a lot to Coastal Health District director Dr. Lawton Davis.
“That’s good news and bad news. It’s good news in that there is no way we could have scheduled 4,300 people by telephone that quickly, it’s bad news in that that means that probably the available appointments for the first 8 days are filled up,” said Dr. Davis.
The Coastal Health District created the system independently as they wait for the statewide scheduling platform to debut later this month. Right now they are only booking appointments 8 days out to ensure they have the vaccine supply needed. That means everyday new appointments could open up.
“The numbers just exceed the supply right now and so everybody who is providing it is doing the best they can and just continue to be vigilant and patient and persistent,” said Dr. Davis.
Dr. Davis says the best advice is to check with multiple providers and look often for new openings. He says Georgians can travel within the state to get their vaccine. So far the Coastal Health District has given roughly 27,000 doses of the vaccine. While they are getting a steady supply right now, he doesn’t expect to see more in the near future which is critical as additional providers come online to help get shots into arms.
“I think if we had an unlimited supply of vaccine at this point we got enough people who are willing and eager to provide it that we would be able to work through 1a+ pretty quickly,” said Dr. Davis.
But that isn’t the case. Dr. Davis says there are still thousands of people to be vaccinated here in the Coastal Health District and they don’t have a clear picture of when this phase will be complete.
The new online portal is only for those scheduling first time vaccination appointments. When you get your first shot they will make the appointment for your second dose. Dr. Davis says they do still have a phone number for those who aren’t internet savvy, but staff will use the portal to schedule appointments and they will not have extra slots.