CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL PREVENTION
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline
SERVICE TO THE CITIZEN AWARD WINNERS
Tasked by President Biden’s White House with establishing a COVID-19 vaccine hotline for those with no or low internet access or proficiency, the National COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline Team (the Team) stood up a successful hotline by the White House’s accelerated deadline, while still operating the existing CDC-INFO contact center during the COVID-19 response. CDC-INFO set up the new call center to handle an expected call volume of up to 200,000 calls per day in more than 100 languages.
What began as a hotline grew into an omni channel contact center as the COVID pandemic evolved. Through the initial rollout of the vaccines, which were managed by the states, it was identified that a disproportionate amount of information regarding the vaccines was only available via the internet. The Team changed the traditional approach of a rapidly deployed hotline by introducing innovative technologies to maximize reach and access, thus allowing people to choose multiple channels, self-service options, or the ability to speak to a live agent in more than 170 different languages.
The Team developed, deployed, and adapted our solutions, often within only days, to address the quickly changing problems that were surfacing. The Team introduced digital and telephony platforms that scaled up within 4 weeks with a capacity to handle 500,000 calls per hour and millions of text messages. The Team implemented short text code options, through Twilio SMS texting, integrated with the same code that supports vaccines.gov to allow users to self-service and find the nearest and available vaccines by texting their zip code to GETVAX (438829).
The program’s new and innovative technologies have “changed the game” for people in the U.S. seeking vaccination information and appointments, providing equitable access, and helping America get back to normal.