Uphill battle to get Knox County Health Department COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In 24 minutes on Friday, the Knox County Health Department’s first COVID-19 vaccination clinic in February was booked solid.

The 2,150 appointments will take place Feb. 1-3. Of those appointments, 400 were reserved for callers over the KCHD public information line.

This is the second time KCHD used the online system to for COVID-19 vaccination reservations.

The online system opened to the public at 11 a.m. Friday and according to a KCHD post on Facebook. All appointments were taken by 11:24 a.m.

A mix of reactions from those who successfully booked an appointment and those who were less unable to get one can be found on social media.

This clinic is for those who qualify: healthcare workers, first responders, and those who are 75 and older.

“My wife was on the telephone trying to get on. Just the message … that the lines were busy,” Ed Mildon said.

Mildon is 80, his wife Lucy is 77. The pair have tried twice to get vaccination appointments but have not been successful. They’re hopeful when KCHD adds a wait list to the online system, it will help.

“We have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and we’d like to keep ourselves so we can visit them,” Ed said.

Photo of the Mildon family courtesy Ed Mildon

Changes to the online reservation system

The Knox County Health Department will be modifying the online reservation system. The new version will have the option for a waitlist.

Moving forward, appointments will be filled by contacting those who are on the waitlist.

We know there is great desire for a waitlist, and we are happy to soon provide this option to our community – but, it was critical to us that we found the right system for our needs.

Not only will this new system streamline scheduling and allow those who qualify to put their names on a waitlist, its automated features will greatly benefit our team as we work to maximize efficiency at vaccine appointments. That, in turn, will have a direct benefit to Knox County citizens.

Knox County Health Department Senior Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan.

Reservations made Friday are for the February vaccination clinic to be held at the Knoxville Expo Center.

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