Montco hopes single-use appointment links, passwords will stop COVID vaccine ‘line-jumpers’

Nicholas Drago, a physical therapist form Ardmore, Pa., gets his COVID-19 vaccination at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa. on Jan. 6, 2021. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Nicholas Drago, a physical therapist form Ardmore, Pa., gets his COVID-19 vaccination at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa. on Jan. 6, 2021. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Ask us about COVID-19: What questions do you have about the current surge?

Starting next week, Montgomery County will begin sending individualized, single-use appointment links to people eligible to schedule a time to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Under the new system, residents will have to enter a password supplied by the county to make a vaccination appointment.

The announcement comes after the county learned that people were sharing their appointment links with family and friends who are not currently eligible for inoculation under the state’s vaccination rollout plan.

“This is not ethical or moral and it needs to stop,” said County Commissioner Val Arkoosh during a virtual briefing on Wednesday. “We are committed to delivering the vaccine in an efficient and equitable way.”

The county has also launched a COVID-19 hotline for residents to ask general questions about the highly-contagious virus. The hotline will have a function for people to pre-register for a vaccine appointment, potentially sometime next week, said Arkoosh.

The hotline will be available Monday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The number is 833-875-3967.

“It could easily take up to 12 weeks or longer before you actually hear from us about scheduling an appointment,” said Arkoosh.

Doses of the vaccine continue to be “extremely scarce” in the county.

A delivery of roughly 3,900 first doses and 5,800 second doses are expected to arrive this week, said Arkoosh.

Montgomery County is home to more than 830,000 people.

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