The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the digital divide in Maryland, a phenomenon further exposed by the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. It has been difficult, or impossible, for many to navigate the maze of online vaccine registrations.
If you don’t have a computer, aren’t comfortable using one or just prefer to call, here are some resources and guidance for trying to secure a vaccine appointment over the phone — if you’re eligible.
Maryland — 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829): Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, dial this number to reach the state’s call center. When you call, an automated message will play with the following prompts:
- Choose a language: English or Spanish
- Enter your ZIP code
- Want to continue over text message? If yes, press 1, if no, press 2 to continue.
- Do you want to pre register for an appointment at a mass vaccination site? If so, press 1. Do you want to change an existing pre registration or appointment? If so, press 2. Do you want help finding an alternate vaccine provider near you? If so, press 3.
- If you selected make an appointment, acknowledge whether you’re eligible according to the categories listed in the automated message by dialing 1.
- Select from the mass vaccination site options: Six Flags in Bowie, M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury or the Hagerstown Premium Outlets in Washington County.
- You may be told there are no appointments available and given the choice to hang up or speak to an operator.
If you’re put on hold and the music stops, hang up and call again, a tip sheet from the Maryland Vaccine Hunters Facebook page suggests. “Don’t wait on hold with no music for more than 30-60 seconds!”
The tip sheet also advises there could be confusion about your eligibility, in which case if you should remain calm, courteous and explain your case clearly. “Kindness goes a long way in these situations,” the advice reads.
Anne Arundel County — 410-222-7256: Call if you’re a county resident and are unable to preregister for a vaccine online.
Baltimore City — 410-396-CARE (410-396-2273): Ring this number if you live in Baltimore and are an older adult in Priority Group 1A, 1B or 1C.
Baltimore County — 410-887-3816 or 311: Dial the first number if you’re eligible and need help making a vaccine appointment. If you’re a senior, you can also dial 311 to reach an operator who can help you out.
Carroll County — 410-876-4848: Call if you live in Carroll County and need help pre-registering for an appointment. The health department says its call center is “experiencing extremely high volumes,” so don’t leave multiple messages.
Harford County — 410-838-1500: Dial and press 4 if you’re a Harford County resident, in vaccine priority Group 1A, B or C, and need help completing a vaccine eligibility form.
Howard County — 410-313-6284: Call this number if you’re a Howard County resident who’s 75 or older.
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CVS — 800-746-7287: If you’d don’t have internet access, are eligible and want to make an appointment at CVS pharmacy, dial this number to reach CVS Customer Service.
Giant: Try calling your local Giant store if you don’t have internet access. Giant has a store locator feature, which can help you find a phone number of a Giant for someone you’re helping get vaccinated.
Giant stores in Accokeek, Annapolis, Baltimore, Bel Air, Bethesda, Bowie, Burtonsville, California, District Heights, Dundalk, Dunkirk, Elkridge, Ellicott City, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Hyattsville, Largo, Lutherville, Silver Spring, Waldorf and Westminster are currently offering the vaccine, according to the Maryland Department of Health.
Walgreens — 1 (800) 925-4733: If you need help making an appointment at Walgreens, try the national pharmacy’s customer service line.
Walmart: Try calling your local Walmart if you don’t have internet access.
Walmart stores in Berlin, Cambridge, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Columbia, Denton, Easton, Elkton, Frederick, Fruitland, Germantown, Hagerstown, Pasadena, Pocomoke City, Oakland, Sykesville, Towson and Westminster are currently offering the vaccine, according to the state health department.
Walmart has an online store locator for Maryland that can help you find a phone number for someone you’re helping get vaccinated.