A public health COVID-19 vaccine call centre that opened a year ago to help people with booking appointments and other vaccination inquiries was closing Thursday amid waning demand, Lambton’s health unit said.
A public health COVID-19 vaccine call centre that opened a year ago to help people with booking appointments and other vaccination inquiries closed Thursday amid waning demand, Lambton’s health unit said.
Help is still available to book appointments for any vaccine through the health unit’s normal phone number, 519-383-8331, said health promotion supervisor Matt Butler.
At its busiest, the call centre was fielding 600 or more calls a day, he said, and “that’s just calls we were able to handle in a day.”
“That’s been reduced to a few hundred calls per week,” Butler said.
Getting rid of the call centre simplifies the process for callers and means health unit personnel can take on other duties that had been pared back amid the COVID-19 response, he said.
“As our call volume … has kind of scaled down, we’ve been able to scale up other services,” he said.
A combination of full-time and temporary public health workers staffed the call centre, he said, noting it also helped with flu and other vaccine-related inquiries.
To date in March, the health unit has administered 657 COVID-19 vaccinations while another 290 are booked for the rest of the month, health unit officials said.
Many vaccine clinic slots are still available this month for people looking to book an appointment, officials said.
Details are available at getthevaccine.ca.
A public service announcement from the health unit Thursday attributed diminished call centre demand to high vaccination rates and continued adherence to public-health safety measures, and noted demand is expected to decrease further amid provincial reopening plans.
Four-fifths of Lambton’s population age five and older was fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, public health’s latest update says.
Eighty-three per cent were partially vaccinated, and 49 per cent had received a third dose.
Of the nearly 269,000 COVID-19 vaccines administered to date in Lambton, nearly 1,200 were fourth doses, public health reported.
There were 131 deaths to date from COVID-19 in Lambton, the health unit reported.
Bluewater Health Thursday reported there have been 103 in Sarnia hospital. That number includes people from outside Lambton.
There were fewer than five people in local hospital with confirmed COVID-19 Thursday, and one was in intensive care, the hospital group said.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is still the best protection for yourself and your family against severe COVID-19,” the public health public service announcement reads.
The health unit is reachable by phone weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.