TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A new COVID-19 hotline is supposed to help New Jersey residents make vaccination appointments.
But on the first day, it was overwhelmed.READ MORE: Long Island Nonprofit That Builds Homes For The Disabled Gets Overwhelming Public Support After Power Tools Stolen
“Our toll free vaccination hotline went live to assist residents,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.
Call 855-568-0545 and you’re supposed to be able to sign up for vaccine, or ask questions like where is the nearest location get a dose.
But it was swamped with 17,000 calls in the first hour, and many people CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge spoke to couldn’t get through all day Monday.
“I have 4 seniors that I’m trying to help get vaccines for,” said Maurice Leo. “The New Jersey lines basically sends you to the website – isn’t the point of the lines for people who aren’t going on the website?”
- New York State book online here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX
- New York City book online here or call 1-877-VAX-4NYC
- Nassau County more info here
- Suffolk County more info here
- Westchester County more info here
- New Jersey book online here or call 1-855-568-0545
- Connecticut book online here
The phone line was set up to help elderly and vulnerable people with limited access to computers get a shot, but when Duddridge tried to test call, an automated recording directed her back online.READ MORE: Lin-Manuel Miranda Addresses 'In The Heights' Movie Colorism Criticism
Frustrated callers took to social media, tweeting “What’s the use I can’t schedule an [appointment] for my dad [who is] eligible. You need to improve the system.”
Another said “This phone number is useless. There are no reps to speak to?”
- Ask CBS2’s Dr. Max Your Vaccine Questions
- COVID Vaccine FAQ From CDC
- Vaccination Sites In New York City | Call 877-VAX-4NYC
- Find A New York City Testing Site Near You
- Check NYC Testing Wait Times
- Explanation Of N.Y.’s Yellow, Orange, Red Zones (.pdf)
- Resources: Help With Unemployment, Hunger, Mental Health & More
- Remote Learning Tools For Students And Parents At Home
- Complete Coronavirus Coverage
Murphy says the phone line is currently staffed with 250 operators from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
*We expected a lot of people calling. They did,” he said. “We continue to ask for patience as we await more vaccine doses coming into our state we have built the infrastructure from the ground up.
So far on the website, more than two million New Jersey residents have preregistered for the vaccine. But due to the scarcity of doses, officials say there are limited appointments.
Health officials reported another 3,700 cases in New Jersey Monday, bringing the statewide total to 598,660.MORE NEWS: Fireworks To Honor Essential Workers Tonight As New York Lifts Most COVID Restrictions
More From CBS New York:
- Nassau County Taxpayers Shocked By First Bills After Massive Reassessment: ‘It’s Unfeasible’
- Brooklyn Building Manager Arrested After FDNY Finds Over 900 Propane Cylinders Stacked In Warehouse
- Exclusive: Woman Brutally Attacked At Harlem Liquor Store Says Suspect Tried To Bite Her Eye Out: ‘That’s An Animal. That’s Not A Person’