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COVID-19 vaccine self-scheduling tool to help ease strain in Saginaw County

The Saginaw County Health Department launched a new COVID-19 vaccine self-scheduling tool this week and it should help free up some resources and time for staff at the department.
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 3:09 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - The Saginaw County Health Department launched a new COVID-19 vaccine self-scheduling tool this week and it should help free up some resources and time for staff at the department.

The new self-scheduling tool became operational on Monday and it will allow people who register for a COVID-19 vaccine with the health department to schedule vaccine appointments on their own.

Christina Harrington, the health department’s health officer, said she is excited to have this new tool for the community.

“We’re excited here,” she said. “Staff are working right now with the developers on the back end, we’ll be launching the self-scheduling piece of it.”

Saginaw County residents have been able to register for a COVID-19 vaccine on the mysaginawhealth.org website for a while but until now, it took someone from the health department or a volunteer to call people to set up an actual appointment at a vaccine clinic.

Harrington said with the new tool, people will be notified by email or text message when it is their turn to receive a vaccine and that each person will be sent an unique link to schedule an appointment.

“I hope it creates a little bit more accessibility and a little easier for folks to schedule those appointments,” she said.

The new tool comes as vaccine eligibility expands to a younger crowd in Michigan. Beginning Monday, everyone aged 16 and older is eligible to receive a vaccine.

Harrington said now that the vaccination effort is shifting to a younger crowd, using technology will help get people scheduled for a dose.

“Now we can utilize technology to help make it a little bit easier for everyone,” she said.

With scheduling appointments now out of the hands of staff at the health department, Harrington said it will free up more time for staff to work on brining more vaccine clinics to the county.

“That will allow us to continue to schedule and make more appointment slots as folks can then schedule their own appointments,” she said.

Harrington did stress that it will take time for the people who have already registered for a vaccine to receive a link to get scheduled for one and that as doses become available, more people will be able to get scheduled.

Anyone aged 16 years and older is able to register for a vaccine through the Saginaw County Health Department. Harrington said people will receive a confirmation email when they register but getting a link to schedule an appointment will not be instantaneous and those will be sent out as clinics are scheduled.

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