January 26, 2021
Media Contact: Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU PRE-REGISTER FOR COVID-19 VACCINE, BE SURE TO RECEIVE AND RESPOND TO THE CALL-BACK
— Call center reports up to 50 percent of return calls were blocked or labeled as potential spam —
(CHRISTIANSBURG, Va.) — The COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center serving the New River Valley Public Health Task Force reported recently that up to 50 percent of all return calls the center made to individuals to schedule vaccine appointments were not answered, or went directly to voice mail.
Outgoing calls from the call center come from 540-838-8222. If you receive a call from that number, it’s the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center, likely calling to schedule your vaccine appointment. Please answer, even if it’s labeled as potential spam.
Changes were made yesterday so that every outgoing call is identified as “NRV Health District” and “540-838-8222.” If you can adjust the settings on your phone to be sure to accept these calls, please do so.
Citizens Cooperative, the call center service provider, also is in the process of verifying the phone number so it will no longer be labeled as potential spam. This process is under way, but may take several days.
“Call center volunteers frequently must make multiple calls to reach someone. We have learned that many calls are not answered because they’re tagged as potential spam, either by the user, or by the service provider as a service to its customers,” said NRV Business Continuity Team Public Health Director Ashley Briggs. “Under normal circumstances that makes perfect sense, but during a pandemic, in order to improve everyone’s response time, we really need the calls to go through and for users to answer them, as quickly as possible.”
“Citizens Cooperative has been a great partner to the New River Valley Public Health Task Force,” said Kevin Byrd, executive director of the NRV Regional Commission, which houses the call center. “They helped us quickly establish the call center and have been very responsive in identifying and fixing problems. And thanks, too, to the volunteers who staff the center’s 10 lines, seven days a week. We’re all learning quickly about operating a high capacity, high volume call center.”
It’s important to remain patient for the vaccine and stay vigilant in COVID-19 prevention. Continue to protect yourself and others: cover your mouth and nose with a mask, wash your hands often and well, stay at least six feet away from others, avoid gatherings with anyone who is not a member of your household and get a flu shot.
For more info about the vaccine, visit VDH’s Vaccine Response website (www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/) and CDC’s website (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html).
# # #