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OUR VIEW: Be patient with health department workers

Right now, the COVID-19 vaccine is the perfect example of what happens when there’s low supply, yet high demand for a product.

District 4 Public Health, which includes the Troup County Health Department, has worked this week to take appointments from individuals that qualify for the vaccine at this point of the rollout. Essentially, anyone 65 and older, first responders and healthcare workers are eligible to receive the vaccine at this point.

As soon as District 4 Public Health made call-in appointments available, the phone lines clogged up, and people have been waiting for hours to get someone on the phone. An online appointment form, where people could register and then be called back, didn’t work out, especially when people who had signed up for an appointment started making appointments by phone as well.

People are frustrated, and we get it. If you’ve called a bunch of times and couldn’t get through, you’re not the only one. It’s happening to a lot of people, and it’s not just a District 4 problem. It’s happening elsewhere too.

But we urge patience. We think it’s fair to say that the District 4 Public Health staff is overworked and overwhelmed right now, as it does its best to get this vaccine to the general public. This is a brand-new process for everyone, including the public health department, which is also limited in how many vaccines it has available.

Yes, this process could be better, and we’re sure it will be the further we get into it. But for now, be thankful there is a vaccine available and that people are receiving it, even if the rollout is slower and more difficult than we’d all like.

Soon, the Troup County Health Department will post again that it is taking appointments (it’s not currently), and when that time comes, we ask that you take a deep breath, pick up the phone and try to relax.

This is very different than calling the cable company and being placed on hold for hours while complaining about a bill. This is a potentially life-saving vaccine, and not surprisingly, a lot of people want it. Hopefully, it’s worth the wait.