In an effort to keep the COVID-19 vaccine local, the City of Naples has launched a new phone system. On Tuesday, they put it to the test to schedule 500 vaccine appointments.
Bob Plemmons spent his morning on the phone trying to get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine through The City of Naples.
“I called every 30 seconds. I got a busy signal every time and after that, I said ‘the heck with it,'” Plemmons said.
Rose Marie Davidson tried too. She wanted to get an appointment for her husband but, like Plemmons, she got a busy signal.
“I refused to give up but I had to. So that was my fun experience this morning,” said Davidson.
Reservations disappeared in 12 minutes this morning. But, according to Naples Fire Chief Pete DiMaria, who coordinated the phone appointment system, everything ran smoothly overall.
“We know there was a great difficulty with some of the technology that they were faced with, so this was less intrusive for them,” DiMaria said. “They were able to easily pick up the phone give their name and number and then we call them back and talk to everybody.”
Once you get that call back, that’s when you’re able to make your appointment to get a shot in the arm.
Vincent Keeyes is the President of NAACP Collier and he says that a phone system works better for many of those living in impoverished neighborhoods.
“To make an appointment by computer was totally crazy. We are grateful to that point that we can pick up the phone, we can call down,” Keeyes said.
While the city knows it’s not a perfect system, they do hope this old-school technology takes some of the stress out of trying to get vaccinated.
This is the third time the City of Naples has used the phone-in system. In total, just over 500 people got appointments reserved Tuesday morning. 200 people will get their first dose on Friday.