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Saginaw County launches self-scheduling tool for COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Instead of phone banks setting appointments by phone, people registered for the vaccine will get a link to sign up
Saginaw County Health Department.
Saginaw County Health Department.
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 1:20 PM EDT
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SAGINAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Saginaw County residents who register for the COVID-19 vaccine will have the opportunity to schedule their own appointments to receive it beginning Monday.

The Saginaw County Health Department launched a new tool allowing residents to set appointments online. The tool replaces the need for time intensive phone banks with employees and volunteers calling residents individually to set appointments.

The health department says the self scheduling option is possible because larger shipments of the vaccine allows them to plan clinics further in advance and many of the residents signing up now are younger. A customized software program developed in Saginaw powers the sign up tool.

“We carefully watched and listened to other local health departments that tried out commercial scheduling software and found it to be less than helpful,” said Saginaw County Health Officer Christina Harrington. “Fortunately, we were already working on a self-reporting/contacting tracing tool with a local developer and had them shift gears to help us with vaccine appointment self-scheduling.”

Saginaw County residents who want the COVID-19 vaccine still have to register in advance with the health department. If they provide an email address or phone number with text messaging capability, they will receive a confirmation of their registration.

The health department then will send emails to people in limited batches and invite them to sign up for available vaccine times.

“We are releasing emails in batches to make sure we aren’t driving too many people to too few appointment times,” Harrington said. “So, I encourage anyone who has registered with us to check their email often now and remain patient.”

Appointments will be set by phone for people who didn’t provide an email address when they registered and don’t have text messaging capability. Appointments will be set in pairs for people receiving the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which both require two doses.

Teens age 16 or 17 must have a parent or guardian accompany them to receive the vaccine in Saginaw County.

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