Montgomery County vaccine clinic full; wait times astronomical to register

Montgomery County vaccine clinic full; wait times astronomical to register
(Robert Michael/dpa via AP) (Robert Michael)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Appointments for COVID-19 vaccines available during next week’s Public Health clinic in Montgomery County filled up quickly after registration opened Friday morning.

Approximately 1,700 vaccine doses will be given during the clinic to those with specific medical conditions and those 65 and up.

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“We know it’s frustrating to get a vaccination appointment not only with Public Health, but also with all the different partners that are trying to do vaccinations,” said Dan Suffoletto, spokesman for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County. “The reality is though, there is just not enough vaccine to go around, so that makes it very difficult for people to access the appointments.”

When registration on the county’s website launched for the next week’s doses, people online are placed in a virtual queue. WHIO tested the county health department’s system during Friday’s signups.

When WHIO logged into the signup section of the county’s site, News Center 7 initially got a wait time of 18 minutes, however that time grew quickly, topping out at 3,250 minutes, which is more than 50 hours. However, that time slowly dropped and after about an hour and a half, News Center 7 was able to reach the scheduling portal prior to the vaccine signup slots running out.

The ongoing issues of wait times, multiple vaccine signup locations and overall headaches for those trying to register prompted the state to take action in creating a centralized scheduling system.

While the state’s system isn’t ready for public use, Gov. Mike DeWine said it’s entering the second phase in getting vaccine providers, like Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, on-board with the system. A public launch date for the system has not been announced.

The program will provide centralized appointment availability for COVID-19 vaccinations within a 20 mile radius of a person’s zip code.

DeWine said the Area Agencies on Agency will be tasked with assisting those who do not have internet access.

Not only is scarcity for vaccines an issue, winter storms that blasted much of the United States this week held up about six million doses of vaccine that was backlogged due to shipment delays, the White House announced Friday.

DeWine has said Ohio will not open vaccine eligibility to any additional age groups for at least several weeks until the supply can catch up to the demand.