After overwhelming demand and scheduling frustrations, Summit County Public Health is switching to a lottery system to determine who gets COVID-19 vaccines through the health department.
The health department said the lottery system, which will start Monday, March 1, will pull a computer-generated random sample from its vaccine registry who will receive instructions on how to schedule an appointment.
People do not need to re-register in the system to be considered for the lottery. Those who haven’t registered can do so at scph.org/covid/vaccine.
The health department said that currently, those included the state’s Phase 1B will be considered for the lottery, which includes those 65 and older and those with specific medical conditions that put them at higher risk for complications from COVID-19. Anyone can use the link to sign up, and, once eligible, they will be included in the lottery, the health department said.
There will be no vaccine appointment scheduling this Tuesday, Feb. 23.
The health department said it’s experienced “a very high demand of phone calls and web contacts alerting us to the challenges in securing a vaccine appointment.” The high demand has caused its phone and internet systems used to schedule appointments to struggle to keep up during its weekly scheduling sessions.
The health department said the change was being made “in an effort to reduce frustrations.”
Until now, the health department has opened its scheduling lines and website at noon on Tuesdays for people in the currently eligible phase to schedule their first dose. The phone line and website were set to be active until all appointments were filled, which often happened within minutes.
For questions, call the COVID-19 Call Line at 330-926-5795 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The health department is only one vaccine provider in Summit County; there are 55 total vaccine provider locations in Summit County, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The state is using a decentralized approach for COVID-19 vaccines, and each provider has its own scheduling process.