Big Sandy Regional Call Center opens line of communication for vaccinations

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 7:11 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - UPDATE: 02/14/2021: Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley told WYMT the call center will now go live on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately due to the inclement weather, we will be unable to launch the regional call center tomorrow. Our intentions are to open the lines on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.,” said Riley.

Original Story:

As vaccines become more available across the state, a regional effort is underway to make sure anyone who is eligible to register has the access to do so.

The Big Sandy Regional Call Center goes live Monday to help people in the eligible tiers who may not have access to the internet, or may just not be tech-savvy enough to register themselves.

“We were all receiving those phone calls, which were just sad,” said Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley. “You have the 70 and older, and sometimes younger individuals, calling and explaining that they had access to the phone- they were calling us- but they just did not have the ability to register.”

The multi-agency partnership covers Floyd, Johnson, Pike, Martin, and Magoffin counties- helping to register vaccinations at Pikeville Medical Center, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, and local health departments. Sandy Valley Transportation also joined the program, offering to provide transportation to people in the region who need a ride to and from their vaccination appointment.

“It is definitely a multi-agency, five-county, regional effort to help our people who are experiencing some anxiety,” said Riley.

The call center, located in the Pike County Emergency Management office, will be operated by local nursing students who will be equipped with resources and information to make the registration process easier.

Riley stressed that the call center is not responsible for scheduling vaccines. The center schedules people, adding their names to the waiting list for the preferred provider.

She said the partnership with the other health departments, the state, and Pike County Emergency Management is all about working toward a common goal. Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett agreed.

“It’s really important. If we’re gonna defeat this, people need to work together,” Tackett said. “So, it’s just a way that we can provide some services that people need.”

He said the office’s Emergency Operation Center was open, so he thought it would make a good space for a four-line set-up to help the departments in their outreach.

The call center will be open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For help scheduling your vaccination, call (606)437-3862, (606)437-3863, (606)437-3865, or (606)437-3866.

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