NBC news story creates surge of 211 calls

On January 13th, NBC Nightly News aired a story on how to get a COVID vaccine appointment. In the story, viewers were encouraged to call 211 for help. It worked. Many 211s across the U.S. were flooded with calls that night and the next day, January 14th. From pre-to-post news story, COVID requests increased 700% in South Carolina, over 600% in Nebraska, and over 250% in Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas (chart on left). A closer look at day-by-day COVID-19 requests in Alabama, Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania (4 charts on right) shows that requests surged on January 13th and 14th, shown in red. Prior research has shown that media coverage can dramatically increase use of 211. These findings illustrate how 211’s role in supporting COVID-19 vaccination can be amplified by media coverage and other promotional efforts. Data for this report come from 211 Counts, a daily tracking system of community needs used by 38 states. Mouse over each bar in the charts below to see the percentage change or number of COVID-19 requests received by 211 in each state. For the chart on the left, pre-news story dates include 12/01/2020-01/12/2021 and post-news story dates include 01/13/2021-01/24/2021.

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