Local health officials hope new pre-registration COVID-19 website lessens burden on health departments

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GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — The WVDHHR COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration website debuted on Jan. 25 in the hopes of lessening the burden on local health departments.

Dr. Bridgett Morrison, the health officer in Greenbrier County, said there are very few health departments that can handle the volume of phone calls they receive each day about the vaccine.

“It’s been very disabling for us for months now so this website the goal is to take that burden off,” said Dr. Morrison.

Dr. Morrison said since the pandemic began, their focus shifted mainly to COVID-19, making it harder to deal with any other calls.

“When all we can do is answer the phone lines coming in, it also ties up lines that we can make phone calls like contact tracing and again handle other avenues of our business,” said Dr. Morrison.

To combat the amount of vaccine related calls the health department receives on a daily basis, the Greenbrier County Health Department partnered with the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine to establish a COVID-19 hotline. They used the schools resources to help people get on the vaccine list and schedule.

Now, Dr. Morrison said people should go to the pre-registration website and call their hotline to get on the list. She said she understands people may be frustrated with all of the changes, but she hopes this website will bring some consistency with it.

“Our biggest hope is that this will be a game changer to anyone who is frustrated, to anyone who can’t get through to any of the lines,” said Dr. Morrison.

If you already received the first dose of the vaccine, or you know you are already on a health department’s waiting list, then you do not need to preregister on the website.

Dr. Morrison said the most frequent calls they receive are people trying to figure out if they are on the list or not. She said it sometimes takes days for people to even get the call through, and more often than not they do not have the time to check and see.

Dr. Morrison said when it comes to the vaccine, it is important to be sure if you are on a list or not.

“If people have not spoken with someone and gotten confirmation they are on the list, then I advise them to go on the state website or call the number and get on the list,” said Dr. Morrison.

To pre-register, visit the WVDHHR website or call 1-833-734-0965.

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