Indian River County is leveraging a new vaccine registration system aimed at residents 65 and over. The new process is a notable change from the "first-come, first-served" system residents were struggling to navigate.
In an effort to streamline its vaccine administration process, Indian River County, Fla., has deployed a new COVID-19 vaccine registration system with the help of its emergency alert vendor.
“Based on the contact information provided during the registration process, the system will send appointment notifications via call, text or email,” Kathleen Keenan, a spokesperson for Indian River County, said. “Once an individual has been notified, they will be asked to confirm the date and time of their appointment.”
If an appointment is declined, she said, the individual’s spot will be held in the system and will receive another notification as soon as the next appointment is available.
Prior to the new system, the county relied on a first-come, first-served process that required residents to log on at a specific time to make an appointment. Once all appointments were filled, residents could no longer register to receive the vaccine, causing lots of stress and anxiety, Keenan said.
“We were directed by the board of county commissioners to look for a new software option,” she said. “We were already working with Everbridge to manage our emergency alert system for things like hurricanes or tornados, so it made sense to work with them.”
As for Everbridge’s role in managing the software system, Brian Toolan, a senior director for public-sector strategy with the company, said, “The big concern was overscheduling people. We’re at a point where supply is nowhere near what we have for demand. The last thing you want to do is end up with too many people coming down to get vaccinated with not enough vaccines available.”
To avoid this issue, he said, making the system easy to use by older individuals registering online and creating a platform that works within a call center environment is key.
“We’re taking away the unknown, which is 'can I even get vaccinated?'" Toolan said. “It’s all about having multimodal communication and making this process as easy as possible.”
Other states — including Ohio, California and West Virginia — have also taken steps to update their COVID-19 vaccination systems.
In Ohio, for example, Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that the state developed a new central coronavirus vaccine registration website that will allow people to sign up for the vaccine.
The website, which is currently being worked on to add providers to the system, will allow residents to confirm which eligibility group they are in and schedule an appointment.
In California, the state recently launched its "MyTurn" website, where Californians can check their eligibility and make appointments at mass vaccination sites. That site, however, has seen scheduling problems in recent days.
West Virginia recently announced its partnership with Walgreens to offer COVID-19 vaccinations and will coordinate distribution through Everbridge, according to a release by the governor's office.
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