UTICA, N.Y. - The Office for the Aging in each local county has stepped up staff and have stepped up hours because of all of the calls they are fielding from seniors regarding vaccination signup.
In Oneida County they have taken about 1,000 calls just since last Monday.
They are so busy, they have expanded their helpline hours to seven days a week.
Director Michael Romano says it's heartbreaking to hear the voices on the other end, people feel helpless and lost, some with no family members or friends with computers to help them.
Romano says those are the very people who should call in to their local Office for the Aging for help, "Our staff are asking several questions, screening questions and then taking them through an actual application or a format to what's on the online appointment screen. And then we have Helpline staff who are monitoring public websites, so as the links open up they're entering the individuals information onto the site and making callbacks for various appointments. So that's why we have set up the expansion of the Helpline to meet the needs of the older adults here in the community who are having trouble."
Romano wants to emphasize that if you have someone else helping you try and book a vaccination appointment already, please don't call the Office for the Aging just to have more people working on your part.
He says this service should be specifically for people who don't have anyone helping them because of the limited resources.
Each of the Offices For the Aging are extremely overwhelmed with calls coming in, and then once they are alerted that appointments have opened up, they are literally trying to get though for the next person on the list, so this is a very time consuming process and they only have so many people to help do this.
Here are the numbers for local Offices for the Aging :
- Oneida County : 315-798-5456
- Herkimer County : 315-867-1195
- Otsego County : 607-547-4232
- Madison County : 315-697-5700