• 54°

COVID-19 vaccine call center to open in Suffolk

Suffolk will open a call center beginning Monday afternoon to provide information about COVID-19 vaccines in the Western Tidewater Health District.

The city is opening the call center in partnership with Franklin, Isle of Wight County and Southampton County, the other localities that make up the health district.

The call center will operate out of Suffolk’s Emergency Operations Center at 300 Kings Fork Road and will open at 1 p.m.

The number for the call center is 757-514-4570, and after it opens Monday, will operate from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until further notice.

The establishing of the call center is in response to the increased demand for information about the COVID-19 vaccine. However, previously published phone numbers for all four health departments in the district will remain active for health department business and scheduling.

Call center staff will not be able to schedule vaccinations, confirm appointments or give medical advice, but they can offer assistance and information, especially to seniors and those who are able to access online resources to receive notifications. It can also provide individual assistance to complete the new health district vaccine inquiry form, which provides residents the opportunity to begin the COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration process.

The form is available online at https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=WW97HTFCE9 and can also be found on the city of Suffolk’s website on its COVID-19 page, along with the health district’s website.

It is not an actual form to get the vaccine, but it allows the health district to collect pre-screening information to allow its staff to reach out to people who have expressed an interest in getting the vaccine to schedule a vaccination appointment.

The health district says that due to the high volume of requests and the limited vaccine doses made available from the state, it could take several weeks for it to reach out to schedule vaccinations. It asks that just one survey be completed per person.

For those without an email address, they should enter their phone number in that section of the form, as it is a required field.

The health district encourages anyone with questions about the vaccine to speak with their healthcare provider, and reach out to them to determine if they are offering the vaccine to their patients.

For more information specifically related to the city of Suffolk and other COVID-19 programs and initiatives, go to www.suffolkva.us/Coronavirus.
More COVID-19 information can also be found on the Virginia Department of Health website at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

This comes as the state health department is training 750 people to staff a call center to answer phones and provide information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Those call centers, according to Gov. Ralph Northam, are expected to be activated within a week, and will provide information in English and Spanish.