COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The phone line designated to help those 70 and older with making COVID-19 vaccine appointments is “fully functional” Thursday after being inundated with calls Wednesday morning, state health officials said.
According to information from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Care Line is also being backed up by public information phone systems, although officials expect there to be continued high call volume.
The DHEC Care Line at (855) 472-3432 is being used as a way to help those in the 70 and older community figure out which S.C. hospital provider to call in order to make an appointment to receive the vaccine.
Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC’s interim public health director, revealed the Care Line received over 5,000 calls at one time on Wednesday.
Traxler added to put that into perspective, that is just shy of the total number of calls they handle in an entire week. She said the normal call volume is about 8,000 calls in a week.
Wednesday morning’s influx of calls created technical issues with the phone system, as those who were eligible wanted to get their vaccine appointment made as soon as possible.
State health officials are asking everyone to be patient as the vaccine rollout continues.
“As more and more vaccine is available and distributed to states, more and more doctors’ offices, hospitals, and pharmacies will be able to schedule appointments and help get our most vulnerable residents vaccinated first,” according to a DHEC statement.
An interactive map is available that shows locations across S.C. that are accepting appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. That map can be found here.
DHEC is asking the public to continue to wear masks and maintain social distance until enough South Carolinians are vaccinated.