Douglas County launches online COVID-19 vaccine alert sign-up for ages 65+

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 9:48 AM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Douglas County Health Department on Tuesday launched its notification portal for COVID-19 vaccine distribution for residents ages 65 and older.

According to a release from the Douglas County Health Department, the sign-up list on the county’s COVID-19 portal lets users enter their email address so that the health department to facilitate communication about vaccination availability.

Dr. Anne O’Keefe spearheaded the website launch for the Douglas County Health Department. She says there is no need to rush and try to sign up today.

”Don’t worry about getting in there today and getting on this list,” Dr. O’Keefe, the senior epidemiologist said. “Again, it’s not a waiting list or anything like that. It is just signing up for an email notification and there’ unlimited number of people can do that. People can definitely wait a couple of days and sign up if they would like.”

“Putting your name on the list only confirms you will be informed when the vaccine becomes available,” the release states. “It is not an appointment for a vaccination.”

Those ages 65 and older have been prioritized for the start of the state’s Phase 1B rollout. Once Phase 1A is completed, DCHD will sending out e-mails to those ages 65 and older who signed up for status updates. That email notification will include a link to set an appointment, the DCHD release states.

Nearly 1,900 people entered their names into the database during a soft launch this weekend, according to the release.

When the site officially launched Tuesday morning, that number jumped to over 9,000 within a few hours. The influx of sign-ups caused a slight problem.

“Whenever you have a lot of people trying to access the website at the same time, sometimes the website doesn’t work as well and I think that’s what happened this morning,” Dr. O’Keefe said. “So we worked with the company to try to figure out a way to mitigate that and so hopefully that’ll be better. We did get a lot of phone calls from people who were confused about signing up so I think having a video, you know walking people through it will help a lot.”

While there is still a long road ahead of us in trying to get the virus under control, Dr. O’Keefe feels optimistic for the months ahead seeing the interest the vaccine has created.

“As long as we get through this little initial website surge, we can handle it. That’s all I’m worried about today. But yes, I’m hopeful about this vaccine. This vaccine is such a highly effective vaccine. I mean this is not...this is better than so many other vaccines that we have. So it’s really exciting that science has brought us to this point.”

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