Health

Fast and Easy: New Online Appointment System

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Sandra Rojo went to the County’s public health center in Chula Vista recently to vaccinate her one-year-old son Jionnie, only to learn that she would have to come back another day because the clinic had reached capacity.

Hoping to prevent incidents like this one, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is trying a new online appointment system at the facility. The goal is to help people avoid unnecessary trips when vaccinating their children or themselves.

“It’s easier and more convenient,” said Rojo, 26, who immediately went home and made an appointment for the following day.

Rojo was in and out of the public health center in less than an hour. Her son was now up-to-date with his immunizations after getting seven shots, including the whooping cough and flu vaccine.

“It saves time and takes the hassle out of coming here and maybe not getting a number,” Rojo said, adding she will tell her friends about the new appointment system.

Launched two weeks ago, the Online Appointment System is a pilot project at HHSA’s South Public Health Center, the busiest of the in the County since it serves about 18,000 clients each year.

Immunization appointments at the South Public Health Center were only available on a first-come, first-served basis. When the clinic reached capacity—about 50 numbers were handed out each day—an average of 15 clients were turned away. They had the option of returning another day or calling 2-1-1 for another County public health center, which serve the uninsured or underinsured.

The new appointment system, in English and Spanish, is working smoothly and has improved access to vaccines, part of the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative.

“The new appointment system is another way for the County to provide excellent customer service,” said Barbara Jiménez, deputy director for HHSA’s Central and South regions. “We are making it easier for people to have access to vaccines, which are key to keeping San Diegans healthy.”

After its trial period, which will last through April, the online appointment system will be analyzed and may be expanded to all seven County public health centers.

For more information about vaccines or for a list of public health center locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact