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West Virginia To Launch Online Vaccine Appointment Registry

Photo by Joselyn King Wheeling Park High School Assistant Principal Dwaine Rodgers receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the high school earlier this month. Teachers and school staff over 50 years old will be part of the group, along with residents 65 and older, that can use a statewide online vaccine appointment system starting Monday.

CHARLESTON — With county health departments being inundated with calls for COVID-19 vaccinations and growing waiting lists, West Virginia will have an online appointment and registration system to help get more people into the pipeline.

Gov. Jim Justice and state health officials announced Thursday the state entered into a contract with Everbridge to create an online system for West Virginians age 65 and older to get put into the queue for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I hinted about this on Tuesday,” Justice said. “Today, I’m announcing that we will very soon be launching an all-online statewide vaccine scheduling and distribution communications tool.”

Everbridge specializes in automated alert systems that can inform people of emergencies and other incidents through emails, texts, and automated phone calls. Justice said state health officials spent the last week learning how to use the system to set up appointments and take the pressure off county health departments.

The new appointment system will go live at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 25.

Residents can go to vaccinate.wv.gov and register for an appointment.

Priority for vaccine appointments will go to residents age 65 and older, teachers and school service personnel age 50 and older, and other prioritized categories.

“We will be the first state to turn on this new vaccine scheduling system,” Justice said. “This system gives you the ability to put your information in directly and helps us coordinate when vaccines are available to notify you when and where to get your vaccine.”

Those with unreliable internet access will be able to call the state COVID-19 vaccination hotline at 1-833-734-0965, where they will be registered over the phone. Bill Crouch, the secretary for the Department of Health and Human Resources, urged people already on their county’s waiting list to not re-register. Those wait lists will be merged with the new system.

“(Justice) was very adamant that we fix this problem,” Crouch said. “We’re going to give it a couple more days to make sure all of our partners are fully on board with this and make them an integral part of this … we expect this to take a lot of the telephone load off of our local health departments. Please be patient with those folks, they’re doing a terrific job.”

As of Wednesday, West Virginia received 24,108 vaccines for the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Yesterday, the state was down to 508 first-round doses. According to DHHR, 137,068 first doses of the vaccines have been administered, which is 87.7 percent of the total 156,300 doses received since Dec. 14. More than 7 percent of the state’s population has been vaccinated with the first dose, while more than 1.7 percent have been fully vaccinated with both doses.

Justice said in the 24 hours between Thursday’s briefing and Wednesday, nearly 9,000 doses of the vaccines were administered, with the state expected to go through this week’s 24,108 allotment by Sunday. This week, the state announced community vaccination clinics in 16 counties. Justice said the goal is to expand the community vaccination clinics to all 55 counties by Feb. 1.

“While we’re trying to get these out and get them into as many arms as we can, we’re now going to expand to all of our 55 counties,” Justice said. “This is to make sure our limited supply of COVID vaccines are reaching every corner of this state. We’re trying.”

The state also is planning to hold more than 15 community vaccination clinics in 11 counties for healthcare workers who have yet to receive their vaccinations. These workers include home health, dental, physical and occupational therapists, child protection services workers, EMS, and behavioral health. Clinics will be open today and Saturday in Berkeley, Braxton, Cabell, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Kanawha, Logan, Mercer, Raleigh and Wood counties.

“We will be using our successful community health care model to continue to get these vaccinations to the critical frontline healthcare workers who have been serving you through this whole pandemic,” Justice said. “Our goal is to offer 12,000 individuals who have been working on the frontlines of this pandemic.”

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