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Health & Science

State’s New Online System Should Cut Call Wait Times For COVID-19 Vaccines

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WVPB

West Virginia health officials will roll out a new online system for taking COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting Monday.

Gov. Jim Justice announced that his office has contracted with telecommunications service Everbridge, at the cost of $760,000 a year. The registration system will be paid for with federal COVID-19 relief funding.

State officials hope the rollout of the Everbridge system will streamline vaccine registrations. Some West Virginians are experiencing lengthy call wait times.

West Virginians who have already made an appointment through their local health departments do not need to register through the new system. Anyone 65 years and older can register through the new system beginning Monday at 8 a.m. through vaccinate.wv.gov.

This weekend up to 12,000 healthcare workers in the state will be vaccinated. Justice said this effort should target physical therapists, dentists and any others still waiting on their first shot.

State officials also plan to expand vaccination clinics throughout West Virginia. Retired Major Gen. James Hoyer — who has continued working with the Justice administration on efforts to combat the pandemic — said no county should be without a clinic.

Hoyer said he expects another 23,000 doses next week, the same allotment the state received a few days ago. He’s confident West Virginia could administer 120,000 doses a week, if the supply was there.

Justice said he’s already made his case to the new Biden administration for more vaccines. He said he spoke with new federal coronavirus czar, Jeffrey Zients, on Wednesday.

“You have states that are still struggling to get to 50 percent, that have vaccines and they’re in some warehouse,” Justice said. “If I had the vaccines I could maybe save somebody’s life today.”

West Virginia has administered 88 percent of first doses, according to current data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources.

Gov. Justice said there are nowhere near enough doses to vaccinate everyone 65 and older. Still, he believes lowering the age was the right choice.

“We had to go to 65 because the CDC wants us to be at 65 and I sure don’t want our supply cut off,” he said.


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