NBC 7 San Diego: For San Diego Seniors, Making Vaccination Appointments is as Easy as Calling 211
By Joe Little
February 24, 2021
Joyce Bliss sat back in her chair and felt relieved.
“It’s over and number one’s done with,” she said.
The 89-year-old just received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination at the Gary & Mary West PACE vaccination pod in San Marcos. Bliss said she made the appointment Monday by calling 211.
“For the simple people!” she joked.
By no means is Bliss simple, but neither is the internet for some people.
“It’s not, I don’t like it. My brain doesn’t like it,” Bliss said while slapping her head.
“It’s a great example of a public and private partnership,” Tim Lash said about working with 211.
Lash is the CEO of Gary & Mary West PACE, a medical group focused on the health and wellbeing of area seniors.
“There was no guidebook or roadmap on how to vaccinate your way out of a pandemic,” said Lash.
Gary & Mary West PACE opened their vaccination pod Feb. 11. Lash said they visited other vaccination sites to see what worked and what didn’t work. He said they settled on a walk-up format and partnered with 211 to handle all of their appointments. Lash said their clients would find it easier to register for an appointment through a voice on the phone instead of on a website.
“It’s very easy because somebody was doing it for me,” said Bliss.
“All of the information is collected by 211 and then we prepopulate the form so that when they arrive there is very little paperwork for them to fill out,” added Lash.
He said 211 operators could also help arrange free transportation to the vaccination pod or arrange appointments at other vaccination sites. However, Lash said they have roughly a hundred slots this week, and hundreds more in the following weeks available in San Marcos. He said they hope to schedule enough appointments in the future to do 500 vaccinations a day.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it is such a privilege to be part of it,” said Lash.