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Callers Can’t Get Through To Duval County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Hotline

Registered nurse Cynthia Banada holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Miami Jewish Health, a senior healthcare facility, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Miami.
Lynne Sladky
/
Associated Press
Registered nurse Cynthia Banada holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Miami Jewish Health, a senior healthcare facility, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Miami.

The city of Jacksonville is asking for patience as the hotline to set an appointment for COVID-19 vaccinations in Duval County has been frustrating callers since it went live at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, the city says its phone lines are working but the high volume of calls is keeping people from getting through. Residents are urged to continue calling back to try to schedule an appointment.

Health care workers with direct patient contact and people 65 or older who live in Duval County are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the Department of Health in Duval County announced Tuesday. The hotline, at (904) 253-1140, is the only way to make an appointment. There is no online reservation system, as there is in Clay County.

Vaccines are available by appointment only, by calling between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. Diana Openbrier on Wednesday morning said she was among those who have not been able to get through to set a vaccination appointment.

“I have been calling that number and it rings two to three times, then shuts off,” Openbrier wrote in an email to WJCT News.

Joanelle Mulrain, 70, from Avondale, said she tried calling more than 50 times as of Wednesday afternoon and still hadn’t heard anything other than error messages and busy tones.

“Sometimes you just have to staff up when you don't want to and get it done for the community, and it looks like they're going to have to step up New Year's Day and even over the weekend,” she said. “I hope they consider it and get these appointments made and get the vaccine distributed.”

The phone line was set to be closed Thursday and Friday, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It will reopen Monday, Jan. 4, at 8 a.m.

Jim Brucker was one of the lucky ones.

“After approximately 300 calls and 4½ hours of calling, I got through and got an appointment for a vaccine shot next week,” he wrote in an email to WJCT News.

WJCT News has reached out to the Duval County DOH and the city of Jacksonville for details on what is causing the phone issue and when it is expected to be resolved. This story will be updated with the response.