DENVER — After experiencing high call volume in its first week, a state hotline to answer COVID-19 vaccine-related questions expanded its operations on Monday to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A total of 31,505 people have called the hotline, which is 877-268-2926 (CO VAX CO), since it launched last Monday, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). That averaged to about 4,500 calls per day for the 50 workers in the call center.
By Monday, the call center had grown its staff to 60 people and planned to have 150 workers by the end of this week, CDPHE said.
In addition to expanding the hotline's hours and staffing, CDPHE also said it added a feature that allows a caller to opt for a callback when it's their turn in the queue.
The hotline experienced high call volume and long wait times even on its first day, when more than 5,200 people called in.
9NEWS called the hotline Monday to track wait times. For almost four hours, wait times fluctuated between 180-208 minutes and we were not able to get through to anyone.
Many people who are eligible to get the vaccine have expressed confusion or frustration on how to sign up for a shot. Hotline workers can give callers the phone numbers and websites for health-care providers in their area who have the vaccine, said Scott Bookman, CDPHE COVID-19 incident commander, when the hotline launched last week.
What the call center can't do is directly book an appointment or put someone on a waitlist, Bookman said. CDPHE relies on individual providers to handle those sorts of services, he said.
Information on where to find a vaccine provider is also available on the CDPHE website.
Colorado is in Phases 1A and 1B.1 for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which means eligible groups are health-care workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, first-responders, and residents 70 and older.
On Feb. 8, educators and Coloradans 65 to 69 years old can receive the vaccine as part of Phase 1B.2. CDPHE said on Sunday that those who are 70 and older will remain a priority and that they aim to have at least 70% of the people in that age group vaccinated by Feb. 28.
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