Vaccination appointment call center opens Monday morning

Murphy hopes center is game-changer for those without internet access — but says lack of vaccine doses is bigger issue

New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination call center — staffed with 250 agents — will go live Monday morning in an effort to help those who have limited access to computers make an appointment to get vaccinated.

Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking Sunday afternoon on CNN, said the call centers could be “a game-changer” — but he also asked for patience in getting the vaccine to those most in need.

“We have heard from our seniors,” he said. “In many cases, they’re not on the internet. So, that’s not an option for them, which is why opening up this call center at 8 a.m. is hopefully going to be a game-changer for those seniors in particular.”

The call center — which can be reached at 855-568-0545 — will be available in both English and Spanish.

The center, which will be run by a third party, figures to be overrun with calls. And, while getting through and getting an appointment figures to be a difficult task — as it has been on the internet — Murphy said the bigger issue will be getting more vaccine doses for use.

“There’s an enormous supply/demand imbalance right now,” he said. “There’s no question about that.”

Murphy said the state is vaccinating more than 25,000 people a day and has given more than 550,000 shots. But the fact remains, more than 2 million people have preregistered — and that is only approximately a third of the eligible population.

Murphy, speaking with Fredricka Whitfield, said he has become more optimistic since President Joe Biden was inaugurated last Wednesday.

“What a difference four days make,” he said. “You’ve got an administration which understands in all of its actions and words that public health is the only way we can get to economic health. They inherited an empty cupboard. And they understand the imperative before us.”