Dial for a dose: Big Sandy Regional Call Center now open

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 7:35 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Big Sandy Regional Call center is now in operation. Nursing students are waiting by the phone to help in a five-county effort to connect more people with access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“Right now, you know, this is a pandemic that we’ve not experienced before at our age,” said Brandon Tackett, Galen College of Nursing faculty member.

He said that isolation is even worse for people who are literally disconnected from the world.

“That’s where a lot of people may feel cut off- is not having access to the Internet or not knowing exactly which website to go to, or how to register or to gather all the information they need to register,” said Tackett.

Though the winter weather conditions over the last two weeks delayed its opening, Public Health Director Tammy Riley said the center is already proving useful. The volunteers on-site at the Pike County Emergency Management Operations Center do the leg work to register anyone who is eligible for vaccination in Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, or Pike County but does not have the access or ability to register themselves.

“You have a nursing student on the other line. So, some individuals, you know, getting that training for a medical background. Helping those in need in the community. It’s really a win-win situation,” Riley said. “So, utilize that resource. You know, if you can register yourself from home and make your own phone calls, that’s fine. But if you need just a little more information or some more assistance with the registration process, take advantage. It’s no cost to anyone.”

Tackett said it is all about working together to help get more vaccines in arms and contribute to the herd immunity for those most vulnerable.

“It’s being an access point,” said Tackett. “You have to be selfless to be in the nursing profession. You have to put others above yourself sometimes. And that’s why they’re here; they are here because they want to help. You know, they have a passion and a caring heart that they want to help others in need.”

The students also have resources available to help with questions people may have about the vaccines.

According to Tackett, the partnership with the many agencies is not only good training for the students- it is what they were called to do.

“That’s what we’re here for,” he said. “To get them where they need to be.”

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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