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Yuma County issues apology for issues with vaccine phone lines

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County says it is working to correct problems

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma County issued an apology to the community Wednesday for problems many experienced while trying to sign up for a coronavirus vaccine.

The county opened its phone lines at 1 Tuesday afternoon. Within minutes, the lines were jammed with callers. Some people tell KYMA.com they never got past a busy signal. Others report being turned away after they did get through.

County health officials say all available appointments were booked by 1:50 p.m., in less than an hour.

County Administrator Susan Thorpe apologized for the phone issues. Thorpe says the system just couldn't handle the sheer volume of calls.

“Our county’s phone system was not built to take hundreds of calls at once and we will be looking to outside resources for a system that will handle this prior to the next Health District Clinic sign up." said Thorpe.

And, Thorpe says, the problems extended beyond Yuma County.

"The phone alternative was intended to assist individuals who have trouble with the State’s portal. The portal itself also had problems." she said. "Resolving these issues will be our top priority. We are in contact with ADHS regarding the State’s appointment portal.”

The county's next vaccine clinic will focus on second dose shots for those who have already received the first vaccine. People in this category can access the ADHS portal and schedule their next vaccine shot.

In the interim, county health officials ask the public to try to exercise patience.

“While we work through the issues of making appointments more streamlined we hope the public understands the fundamental problem is that there is a huge demand for vaccine with a very small supply,” explained Diana Gomez, Health District Director.  

Gomez says the county can fix its phone system, but not the quantity of vaccines available.

“We will improve the process, but we want everyone to understand that as long as our County continues to receive small vaccine allocations, there will be disappointment for those not able to get a vaccine. Please be patient as Yuma County continues to work with our state and federal partners to procure additional vaccines so we can expand access as soon as we receive additional supply.”

The County is still focusing on Phase 1B individuals. Members of Phase 1A who received their first dose of the vaccine in December will need to be scheduled to receive their required 2nd dose.

You can receive the latest information on vaccine distribution by signing up for the county's eNotifications. Be sure to fill in all email and password information. Also scroll down to the NEWS box and be sure to click on (select) “Official Press Release.”  This will send an email to you whenever information is released. The County also posts these announcements on Facebook and Twitter.

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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest.

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Jenny Day

You can catch Jenny Day anchoring KYMA News 11 at 5, 6, and 10 p.m. weekdays.

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