CHC/SEK creates www.chcsek.org/getmyshot for vaccination appointment requests
PITTSBURG — Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is seeing a strong interest for the COVID-19 vaccine under phase 2 of the Kansas COVID-19 vaccination plan.
On Friday alone CHC/SEK had almost 9,000 phone calls to its 866-888-8650 number, not including additional vaccine inquiries from its general phone lines, and obviously many went unanswered. The number is still active for vaccination scheduling.
Vaccine calls are answered by a team of more than 20 people, 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone line itself only allows for 100 calls to come in at a time and last week after the vaccination number went live, it went down after callers overloaded the telephone capacity.
To reduce some of its call center’s stress, CHC/SEK has created www.chcsek.org/getmyshot where people can send their contact information. There is a short questionnaire to type contact information and indicate which CHC/SEK location the recipient would prefer to receive their vaccination. There is also an option to select “first available” if they are willing to travel to the site of the first available appointment.
CHC/SEK schedulers will contact people as soon as appointment slots become available at the preferred locations. Currently, CHC/SEK is booked out for more than two weeks in some clinics.
CHC/SEK began receiving weekly vaccine allotments last week after President Joseph Biden announced the launch of the Federally Qualified Health Center program for community health centers to receive a direct supply of COVID-19 vaccine to ensure underserved communities are equitably vaccinated.
To date, CHC/SEK has administered more than 6,300 first doses of the vaccine and 3,117 second doses across its service area.
The health center has also begun to reach out to essential businesses under Kansas Phase 2 by taking vaccinators on site.
“The purpose of going onsite is two-fold,” according to Dawn McNay, who’s leading the vaccination outreach effort. “First, essential businesses need their employees at work, so going on-site is the most efficient way to get them vaccinated quickly and without business disruptions; and, by getting these employees vaccinated at work, it leaves more vaccination appointments available in our clinic locations.”
CHC/SEK is also exploring other avenues to speed the vaccination process.
“Please be patient,” McNay says, “We are confident there will be plenty of vaccine available in the coming weeks, however with more than 170,000 people in our service area, it’s going to take some time before we can get to everyone who wants to get vaccinated.”
The complete list of eligible individuals under Kansas Phase 2 can be seen at https://www.kansasvaccine.gov/