Across the country, all adults are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. If you’ve preregistered with your local Health Department or other provider, you may start to hear back as appointments become available, inviting you to sign up.
But what happens if you booked an appointment on your own, or you’ve already received the vaccine elsewhere? If you want to stop receiving email and/or text message notifications, you may want to take yourself off the waiting list. Some outlets, including the Philadelphia Health Department, actually encourage you to do so. Here’s how.
How to get off a vaccination list
Vaccination providers all operate a little differently, which means how you unregister yourself will depend on where you signed up. For email notifications, the general starting place is to look for an “unsubscribe” button or link positioned either at the top or bottom of the email. If you can’t find one, look for a help hotline or contact number where you can call for assistance.
If you preregistered with the Philadelphia Health Department, you’ll see an “unsubscribe” button in all email communications that come from email@example.com. If the “unsubscribe” button doesn’t appear, try opening your email through a web browser (versus a smartphone app). To stop text message notifications, reply to any incoming message with the word STOP. This will automatically mark you as disinterested in the city’s database and will stop future communications. If you’re not getting text messages and/or emails and are only getting phone calls, you can call the Health Department’s COVID-19 call center at 215-685-5488. After requesting to be taken off the list, it may take one or two weekdays for the change to take effect.
“We definitely would recommend that folks do this. It’s good for their inbox and good for our data reconciliation,” says James Garrow, communications director at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
In New Jersey, if you signed up with the state’s Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS), all emails include instructions on how to opt out. If you didn’t include an email address in your initial registration, contact New Jersey’s vaccine call center at 855-568-0545 for assistance.
In Pennsylvania, if you preregistered with a local Department of Health outside of Philadelphia, look for “unsubscribe” instructions in email or text communications, or call the Health Department directly. (If you preregistered with the Bucks County Department of Health, you don’t need to cancel. The list is no longer in use, and you will not receive future communication if you signed up.)
You don’t have to take yourself off the waiting list. But the notifications may not stop unless you do. Perhaps more important: Cancel extra vaccine appointments if you double-book yourself. Generally, this means you’ll need to check your confirmation email (if received) and look for a cancellation option or call the vaccine provider directly.
How to cancel an extra vaccine appointment
If you have an appointment through the Philadelphia Department of Health, you’ll find a cancellation option in your confirmation email. You can also call the COVID-19 call center (see phone number above) or call 311. If you’re canceling an appointment through the Bucks County Department of Health, you can log into your Track My Solutions account to cancel, or call the Bucks County Department of Health at 215-345-3318.
“The department encourages all residents who cannot make their scheduled appointment to notify the provider to ensure someone can get vaccinated and not waste a dose,” says Maggi Barton, deputy press secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.