Callers frustrated with COVID-19 vaccine registration process


The confusion started when the phones lines opened up for the COVID-19 vaccine

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The coronavirus virus vaccine will be available in Ohio beginning Monday for people 80 years old and older. Many want the shot, but some had major problems lining up a time to get it.

The confusion started when the phones lines opened up for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Arless Dinger, 81, called Mercy Health’s number four times and waited on hold until being disconnected each time.

“I was on there 1 hour, 45 minutes trying to get that,” Dinger said.

Mercy Health said it was excited to see the number of people seeking vaccinations, and they were experiencing a high number of calls and working quickly. There may be delays in reaching a scheduler.

“It seems to be no one knows what’s going on, what they’re doing,” said Cheryl DiFabio of Boardman.

The Mahoning County Health Department was trying to establish a new phone line to take calls after the original line crashed Thursday night. The agency had a sign on the front door saying “No Walk-In Registrations.”

People started calling 27 First News to complain about what was happening.

“This is very frustrating, especially someone in their 80s. My mom it totally with it, but she’s in tears. She’s in tears. It’s ridiculous,” said Mary Kay, daughter of caller.

DiFabio feels the frustration, too.

“I feel these people have it all wrong. Nobody knows that’s going on and what they’re doing,” she said.

Dinger finally got through to Southwoods but was told all of their appointments to receive the vaccine were booked.

“I tried as hard as I could. I finally was ready to say a few words that nobody wanted to hear,” Dinger said.

27 First News called the Trumbull County Health Department and reached a recording saying call volume was high. Calls go to voicemail and it calls back. It says people leaving multiple messages slows down the entire process.

Columbiana County is preparing for a drive-in clinic next Friday.

Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties all released information Thursday on how to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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