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Vaccine preregistration pauses in Virginia with system move

February 12, 2021 GMT

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Department of Health began moving all of the local health districts’ waiting lists into a central system on Friday, meaning residents won’t be able to preregister for the COVID-19 vaccine this weekend.

The agency will be replacing local surveys with a link to a unified system, The Roanoke Times reported. The new system is expected to launch at 8 a.m. Tuesday. It’s intended to offer a more user-friendly way for people to express interest in getting a shot and for public health officials to manage the lists.

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Virginia also has established a call center to help people with questions about vaccines. The hotline, 877-275-8343, will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with staff available to help people who don’t have computers or who have difficulty using them. Language translation services will be available.

Until now, Virginia’s local health districts have been on their own to use whatever resources they could cobble together to preregister people. Phone systems have been inadequate, and frustration has grown from the lack of response and coordination.

Anyone 65 or older is eligible to receive the vaccine, along with certain essential workers and younger adults with chronic illnesses. As nearly half of Virginia residents compete for limited doses, some people have registered multiple times in the same systems.