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Covid-19 hotline jammed by calls

Vaccination Centre: Robert Gibbons, one of the first to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A Covid-19 vaccine registration hotline has been swamped with calls.

One man, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday that the hotline was a “disaster” after he had made several unsuccessful attempts to get through.

He added: “I must have tried 150 times in one hour and it either rang busy or sent me to a mailbox which no one will ever check.

“I got through once and was ‘caller number four’ but then went to a mailbox again.

“I am calling for my 84-year-old mother. For her, time is of the essence.”

A man in his 80s, who also asked not to be named, said he had been unable to connect either.

He added: “I understand the Government is going to have problems … my only comment would be the system is woefully inadequate.”

The man said: “You call and it’s ‘busy, busy’. Then you get through and you’re number five. Then you get transferred to a mailbox which is full.”

He added: “I am sorry for them. This is an embarrassment.

“What they have been trying to do is excellent, but they’ve got to get this fixed, otherwise there will be a hue and cry and that will help no one.

“I am worried a lot of people will get frustrated and just not bother.”

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said during a press briefing at the Vaccination Centre: “Our phone lines blew up.

“We have added more phone lines we are working on the voice messaging system, and added more persons to help to meet that demand.

“From the high volume of calls we received there is an enormous enthusiasm and we are truly delighted with the level of eagerness. It is extremely exciting.”

Earlier in the day a spokeswoman for the health ministry apologised for the delays.

She said: “Our team is working extremely hard to answer as many calls as possible and we ask for you to be patient.

“Alternatively, we ask that you send an e-mail to: vaccine@gov.bm with the subject ’Registration Data’.”

E-mails should include the name, date of birth, address, home and mobile phone numbers, e-mail, occupation, GP’s name, any diagnosis and, if an essential worker, the employer’s number.

If people have had any other vaccination inside the past month they must wait a full 30 days since that vaccination before registering for the Covid-19 vaccination.

If people have recently travelled, they must wait until their negative day 14 test results are registered before they register for the vaccination.

For more information on the priority schedule for the first round of Covid-19 vaccinations, visit www.gov.bm/vaccines.

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Published January 12, 2021 at 10:19 am (Updated January 12, 2021 at 10:17 am)

Covid-19 hotline jammed by calls

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