Call center hours extended to help Hillsborough seniors make vaccine appointments

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The first day of vaccine registration got off to a rocky start Monday as frustrated seniors jammed phone lines and crashed websites in a rush to get vaccinated.

Seniors trying to register online were hit with error messages, and call centers were quickly overwhelmed.

“I’ve dialed in almost 15 times at this point, kept getting a busy signal,” said Valrico resident Clara Thomas. “At one point, on my online, it actually kicked me out of the system.”

After experiencing service disruptions Monday, Hillsborough County temporarily discontinued its online registration site, and told residents to make appointments by phone.

The county has tripled staff at its call centers and expanded its call center hours. Staff will now take calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, while supplies last.

Right now, Hillsborough has 1,500 doses of the vaccine. By the end of the week, they hope to have 9,000. The plan is to put shots into arms starting Wednesday.

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