GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As we wait for enough vaccine for everyone who wants it, many people simply want to know when or if they can sign up.
Now, thanks to a recent partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, anyone who calls 2-1-1 for COVID vaccine information will be directed to the Grand Rapids office of the Heart of West Michigan United Way.
Sherri Vainavicz, the director of programs and services at the HWMUW told FOX 17 they are already seeing a big uptick in phone calls, partly because of their new agreement with the MDHHS, and partly because of the group that is now eligible for the vaccine. “In phase 1B a lot of the residents that fall into that are your older adults, and they don’t have computers; they’re not tech savvy.”
Vainavicz said the HWMUW is currently receiving between 1,500 and 2,000 calls per day, and she expects that number to increase substantially soon, once word spreads about the services they offer.
“We have a huge building that’s empty, so we thought, 'Well if we have to bring in temp staff to help with this, we have the space to do it. We have the ability to social distance. We’ll tell them when the appointments are going to be released. For the counties that are doing pre-registration, if they call us, we will get to fill out that form and get them pre-registered. Sometimes the older population--they’re lonely, so having somebody to talk to and explain what is happening across the state, and what the delays are and all that, is all they need,” Vainavicz explained.
The 2-1-1 line will answer vaccination questions seven days a week, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. on the weekends.