Call surge for scheduling COVID-19 vaccines leaves Detroit seniors frustrated

On Monday Michigan entered a new phase of COVID-19 vaccinations with a new group of eligible people, and there's also a new place for people to get their shots.

"Every time I walk out of here I'm scared to death," said Quentin Troutman.

Always masked up and using hand sanitizer while social distancing, Troutman, 69, tried to get a COVID-19 vaccine scheduled for him and his 90-year-old mother.

"Every time I turn around, I hear friends of mine who caught the virus," he said, then showed a photo of a fallen friend. "That's Larry right there." 

Larry Griffen, a member of his band that travels across the world, died of the virus in April.

"Who dies in just 2 weeks? I mean that's just not a good way to go," Troutman said.
That fear encouraged Troutman to call Detroit's Covid vaccine scheduling call center at TCF Center as the phones opened up at 9 a.m. Monday for Detroiters 75 and older along with any good neighbor over the age of 65.
"If you have somebody who's over 65 that can drive you they can get a vaccine at the same time," Mayor Mike Duggan said.

But Troutman says his elderly mother got disconnected and he was on hold for an hour and a half.t Then, was unable to get through.
"It's past confusing," he said. "Because somebody dropped the ball. You know people are going to call in."

The city says those who predicted Detroiters would not be interested in receiving the vaccine were clearly incorrect. The call center staff now is increasing by 14 more people a day - and call center hours - two more per day.

The city says if your call is dropped, please call later - or anytime this week.

Detroiter Quentin Troutman.

"A major cause of call volumes is a large number calls from individuals who are not eligible," Hakim Berry COO. "We do not have the capacity to answer questions from people under 75 or non-Detroiters about vaccinations in general." 

For more information about scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination and who is eligible, CLICK HERE.

And there's another problem.

"We were promised 500,000 doses in our first shipment from the feds. We only got 80,000, so we're working to increase that pipeline," said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. 
The city is still, working to schedule appointments throughout the week and asking those who are not eligible, to not tie up the call lines.

"City of Detroit, the mayor, I'm not faulting the mayor, (but) people need to get their business in order," Troutman said.