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The Oregon Health Authority announces several ways to make an appointment, but warns of chaos.

COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS - Doses of COVID-19 vaccines.As part of Oregon's Phase 1B in the COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan, people 80 years and older now are eligible to get vaccinated — but the Oregon Health Authority is warning that this latest phase could be "chaotic."

The Health Authority says the biggest challenge is the scarcity of the vaccine. While they can't give every older adult an appointment as soon as they want one, they can give them different ways to get linked to vaccine information and events.

Recently, KOIN 6 reported that 211 is swamped. While the amount of staff is being increased, they'll always be outnumbered if tens of thousands of calls are coming in. The best way to not overwhelm the system? The Health Authority is launching a new tool on its website that will allow people to get email alerts or text notifications about vaccine events in your area.

The tool is open for all Oregonians and is available in 11 languages. The Health Authority's goal is for the alert system to go live on Monday, Feb 8.

Have a question about the COVID-19 vaccine?

• Check out the new website.

• Text ORCOVID to 898211 to get text/SMS updates (English and Spanish only).

• Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (All languages).

People who can't find the answer on the website, by text, or by email:

• Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155 between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, including holidays. Wait times may be longer due to high call volumes. There is an option to get a call back rather than wait on hold. (Languages spoken: English and Spanish. Free interpretation available for all other languages.) TTY: Dial 711 and call 1-866-698-6155

The site is not for making vaccine appointments, but if people sign up for alerts, it will let them know what locations to reach out to as they get vaccine shipments in in the future.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.

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