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DHEC, Prisma Health vaccine call lines being slammed with callers

DHEC says its Care Line wait times are 2 to 3 hours long to talk to a representative.
Credit: AP Images

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Many people are frustrated with wait times on phone calls when trying to make an appointment with Prisma Health and DHEC to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), their COVID-19 vaccine care line wait times are improving. 

When calling DHEC's care line, the caller hears this message, "Thank you for calling the South Carolina DHEC appointment and Care Line. For help in English, please press one or hold on the line. If you're calling on a Monday or a Tuesday, these are high call volume days."

A Sumter resident said that she waited on the phone for almost three hours to talk with a representative. 

News 19 called DHEC's Care Line, and it took 39 minutes to speak with a representative, and an hour the second time. According to the representative, wait times were about three to five hours last week. Now, they are about two to three hours. 

After reaching a representative, DHEC will prompt you for an email address to register. Those without emails will  be asked for information to find a vaccination site in your area. Depending on your location, some providers require a current email address.

RELATED: DHEC works to fix issues with COVID-19 vaccine distribution

The Sumter resident said the process is making it harder for people her age. 

"I want to have a life! I don't want to go out and be afraid every time I go outside," she said. 

News 19 also called Prisma Health, and the spokesperson said the hospital system's call line is also experiencing a high volume of calls.

When calling their care line, News 19 heard, "All associates are currently busy; your approximate wait time is 31 minutes. If you would like us to call you back in about 31 minutes, please press one. If you would like to wait for a representative, please stay on the line."

Prisma Health requires that each person have an email address to request a vaccine. Wait times could fluctuate depending on the day and time. 

DHEC's Care Line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wait times could fluctuate depending on the day and time.

RELATED: How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina if you're over 70

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