Early on, state officials said if Oklahomans need help during the COVID-19 pandemic, they should call 211.
That advice was recently repeated for people with questions about vaccines, and Oklahomans certainly have had questions. On Friday, 211 Eastern Oklahoma fielded more than 9,300 calls after taking around 2,000 a day for most of the pandemic.
"Certainly, the call surge can be indicated in regards to the vaccine, and they are questions about where to get registered, how to get registered, problems with registering. And we are working in tandem with the Oklahoma State Department of Health to be able to answer those questions," said 211 Eastern Oklahoma Director Ashlie Casey.
Casey said she's hired several more workers, but wait times are still long given the current volume.
"We’re all in the same boat. You know, I have aging parents. I have been affected by COVID just like all these other fellow Oklahomans. So, there’s a lot of anxiety around the release of the vaccine and wanting to make sure that you get it or your loved ones receive the vaccine," Casey said.
Many resources are also available on the 211 website.
Before the pandemic, 211 Eastern Oklahoma handled 600 to 800 calls a day from people looking for help paying for housing, food or utilities.