The Talbot County Health Department is now offering a COVID-19 vaccination call center to help Talbot residents and its most vulnerable populations who are seeking assistance with vaccination preregistration and appointments.

The new COVID-19 vaccination helpline is set up at 410-819-5641 and is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. This project is made possible through the collaboration and support of the Avalon Foundation and Easton Utilities.

“Having the help of the Avalon’s staff answering calls and Easton Utilities support in setting up the phone lines is another great example of how this community works together,” said Talbot County Health Department Acting Health Officer Dr. Maria Maguire. “We are extremely grateful for the community’s outpouring of support through all our partners and those willing to volunteer as we work together to end this pandemic.”

Dr. Maguire says the health department received 300 Moderna vaccinations this past week and is now reaching out only to the highest risk individuals, with a focus on vaccinating individuals 80 years of age and older.

“Like the rest of the world, we eagerly await mass vaccinations and a return to normalcy. For this to occur, every aspect of the delivery logistics needs to ramp up on a massive scale,” says Avalon Foundation CEO Al Bond. “As is true across the country, the Talbot County Health Department is experiencing a huge volume of calls from people who have questions about how to get vaccinated or who need help registering.”

The Avalon Foundation will use its infrastructure, staff, and volunteers to manage the call center to address this need. “More importantly, we will enable those without internet access to sign up for the vaccine over the phone so the Health Department can put its entire focus on the job of vaccinating,” Bond says.

The health department is required by the state to prioritize those in Maryland’s Phase 1B vaccination plan. This includes individuals 75 years and older, residents of group homes, individuals in the education sector, childcare providers and continuity of government

More than 5,000 individuals aged 75 and older have pre-registered through the Talbot County Health Department for a COVID-19 vaccination. More than 3,700 residents aged 65-74 years old in Maryland’s Phase 1C category have also pre-registered.

Healthcare and retail providers are now offering additional state-organized vaccination clinics. Choptank Community Health System is providing vaccinations to its patients, and University of Maryland Medical System’s Shore Regional Health has an online portal to register interest in receiving a vaccination. The Maryland Health Department now has a vaccination website for public clinics in each county, with opportunities to pre-register with these providers at marylandvax.org.

Licensed childcare workers who live or work in Talbot County and residents 65 years of age and older are encouraged to complete a vaccination interest form at talbotcovid19.org, with updates on where Talbot County Health Department is in the vaccination process regularly updated at talbothealth.org.