Some seniors struggling with COVID vaccine signups, hotline busy

Coronavirus

Seniors are serious about getting a vaccination appointment, but lining it up can be a challenge.

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s the second week for older Ohioans to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Some are still having difficulty getting an appointment, and a few have called our newsroom out of frustration.

Seniors are serious about getting a vaccination appointment, but lining it up can be a challenge.
Filling out the information online would help Trumbull County, so it can keep track of things easier.

“Some people in the population can’t figure out how to use the internet or don’t want to. We understand that, so there is a phone number to call,” said Kris Wilster, director of environmental health for the Trumbull County Combined Health District.

And that COVID vaccine phone line has been busy. All you need to do is leave your name, phone number and date of birth. The phone number is (330) 675-7844.

“When the vaccine becomes available, someone will contact you. Please know that you only need to register once on this hotline,” Wilster said.

Trumbull County has had over 5,000 calls and has to log each one.

“When people call and they leave their life history, that doesn’t help us. That just takes up more time,” Wilster said.

The latest census shows Trumbull County had 197,974 residents, 22% percent were 65 and over – that’s 43,712.

Mahoning County had 228,683 residents, including 48,938 65 and over which equals 21.4%.

Columbiana County had 101,83 residents of which 21% are seniors or 21,599.

This week, those age 75 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine.

“If you are 65 and you call, you are not eligible. You are not going to get a call until you are eligible if we can get people to understand that,” Wilster said.

Trumbull County vaccinated over 1,200 people in two days last week at the Fairgrounds.
It’s making changes this week to reduce the wait, but people also have other options.

“If you want to schedule with a pharmacy, and they tell you we’ll make an appointment three weeks out, that’s three weeks you are going to have to wait. If you wait three hours at the fairgrounds, you have to weigh your options,” Wilster said.

There are many options in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana Counties, plus Mercer and Lawrence for seniors to get an appointment without a computer.

The phone lines can get overwhelmed, and everyone must be patient, officials said. In addition, every county reported that there just is not enough vaccine to meet the demand.

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