Poulsbo phone line helps set up COVID vaccinations

In an effort to get as many people vaccinated as possible, the city of Poulsbo has launched a telephone line for those without Internet to get information about where and when they can get a COVID-19 vaccination.

“We are working in partnership with North Point Church in Poulsbo to offer this new service of phone-based assistance to anyone that is eligible for the vaccine, but has had trouble getting a vaccination appointment,” Housing Health and Human Services director Kim Hendrickson said.

The 24/7 phone number is 360-394-9795. Callers will be met with a prompt on a recorded line that goes like this:

“Hello, you have reached the city of Poulsbo’s COVID-19 appointment assistance line. We are working with volunteers at Northpoint Church to help people who have limited internet access connect to vaccine appointments. If you are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine and live in the greater Poulsbo area, a volunteer may be able to help you. Leave your name, contact information, and any other information you’d like us to know, and someone will return your call within two business days.”

For callers where English is not their first language there will be volunteers who also speak Spanish.

Ironically, the phone services was first announced on the city’s website and Facebook page, but other venues also are being used to spread the word.

“We are rolling this out in a lot of different ways. As you see from the social media posts, we are encouraging people to spread the word, and we have recieved a lot of calls from sons and daughters whose parents can’t get an appointment and were having trouble getting appointment online so they pass along the number,” Hendrickson said. “We are working with local organizations so they can help spread the word and later this week we will be putting posters up around town.”

The city works with local pharmacies, such as Safeway, and follows state/county health guidelines on who can receive the vaccine. Currently it is available to anyone 65 and older, first responders, healthcare workers, people who live and work in long term care facilites and all people 50 and older who live in a multigenerational households.

As of March 2, educators and childcare workers can also receive the vaccine, but the city is waiting for the “green light” from the Kitsap Public Health Department before including them in their eligibility lineup.

Most of the vaccines the city is distributing are from Pfizer or Moderna, which require a booster shot. The pharmacies schedule those.

Hendrickson soon expects that local pharmacies will be carrying the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose.

“We want to keep this line open as long as there is a need for it,” Hendrickson said of the phone system. “Also the whole reason we are able to offer this service is because we have seven wonderful volunteers. They are taking the names, making appointments, sending reminders… As long as they remain willing the city is certainly is going to keep the phone line open.”

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