Amazon has been helping employees, their families, and thousands of other community members access COVID-19 testing and vaccinations by hosting pop-up clinics in a growing number of states. Now, Amazon is making it easier to book vaccination appointments over the phone in its home state by providing surge support to the Washington State Department of Health’s 2-1-1 call center.
Previously, the state’s call center was overloaded with wait times of up to one hour, and a backlog of 4,500 voicemails. Officials anticipate demand will increase even more when another 2 million Washington residents become eligible for the vaccine when the state moves to the next major vaccination phase.
To help, Amazon is providing call center volunteers and technology through Governor Jay Inslee’s Vaccine Action Coordination and Command System (VACCS). This public-private partnership was created to boost mass vaccination efforts, with equity and accessibility at the forefront. The system is designed to help improve customer service for people and communities that lack easy access to digital technology, including seniors, rural residents, communities of color, and low-income groups.
The surge support is already delivering results. Since the initiative launched in late March, the system has processed over 50,000 calls. The Amazon Connect technology has eliminated wait times so callers are immediately connected to a response system that uses the same natural language-understanding technology that powers Alexa.
With the ability to scale to support millions of callers, systems are now in place to help manage the next surge of vaccine eligibility.
Customer service agents from Amazon Headquarters’ reception team are providing enhanced service and vaccination registration support. And they’re being supported by Amazon Connect, an Amazon Web Services product that provides interactive voice response with chat-bot capabilities. This technology complements the Washington State Department of Health’s existing 2-1-1 call center service. The direct hotline is 1-800-525-0127.
"Amazon has been working closely with Governor Inslee to advance the state’s commitment to get vaccines in the arms of more people in Washington, as soon as possible," said Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs. "The Governor called on Washington’s business community to help accelerate this work. As Washington state’s largest employer, Amazon feels a special responsibility to answer this call. We are so proud to be working with Governor Inslee and the State Department of Health on behalf of our neighbors."