COLUMBIA - MU Health Care will start posting scheduling links on its website for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, the organization announced Monday.

MU Health Care used to only email eligible mid-Missourians from its survey. However, with shrinking numbers of eligible residents, mid-Missourians can now schedule direct appointments for the vaccine on the MU Health Care website.

“Community members can also call (573) 771-CARE to sub directly instead of waiting for an invitation via email,” MU Health Care Executive Director of Pharmacy Brad Myers said. “It gives us community members more control to sign up for an appointment, if there's slots that are available.”

The link that MU Health Care is using for the direct appointments is called TimeTap. Under TimeTap, eligible recipients for the vaccine still need to show evidence to their answers to qualifying questions.

MU Health Care will now post scheduling links online as appointments become available.

As far as waiting time, MU Health Care believes this transition to the direct appointment scheduling will be faster and more efficient for eligible Mid-Missourians.

“I do feel that it's more convenient,” Myers said. “It’s a faster way for our citizens to sign up for the vaccine instead of checking email every 15 minutes hoping for the invite.”

Direct vaccine appointment scheduling is not something new for places offering the vaccine. Major grocery chains such as Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Hy-Vee have already set up direct scheduling on their websites.

With MU Health Care’s transition to it, mid-Missourians should expect a simpler process for scheduling an appointment.

“Doing things more directly might help with access for folks,” Columbia/Boone County Department Public Health and Human Services Public Information Specialist Sara Humm said. “There’s lots of hoops to jump through, so transitioning to a more direct contact approach will help.”

MU Health Care also intends to only vaccinate patients that are eligible under the Phase 1B - Tier 2 vaccination plan. Those that are eligible under the Phase 1B - Tier 3 vaccination plan cannot receive the vaccine until March 15.

Moving forward, MU Health Care plans to use this direct vaccine appointment scheduling as more Mid-Missourians become eligible for the vaccine.

Those who need help scheduling an appointment can call MU Health Care's COVID-19 vaccine call center at 573-771-CARE (2273). The call center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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MU Health Care, COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine scheduling, direct appointment