Front Desk User Manual | CDC

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Now that you have activated your VAMS account, you can use VAMS to complete your everyday front desk tasks, including checking in recipients and managing their appointments.

The boxes below are clickable links to the corresponding pages in this user manual.

Check In Vaccine Recipients

Recipient Check-in

Check in recipients manually or with a QR (quick response) code and verify their identity.

Manage Recipient Appointments

Manage Recipient Appointments

Check appointment status and cancel appointments for recipients.

Search for Recipients

Search for an existing recipient to schedule a walk-in or future appointment, or to edit their recipient record.

Add New Recipients

Add a new recipient in VAMS.

Schedule Recipient Appointments

Schedule a walk-in or future appointment for a recipient.

Recipient Check-in

As front desk staff, your main responsibility is checking in vaccine recipients. The process of checking in a recipient includes verifying their appointment in VAMS, confirming their identity, and confirming they have completed the required documents. The check-in process must be completed before the healthcare professional can administer vaccine to a recipient.

The first step to check in a recipient is to find their appointment in VAMS. You can find recipients by either scanning their appointment QR code or by manually searching. Review the sections below to learn how to perform these actions.

Use QR Code to Find Recipient Appointment in VAMS

The recipient receives a unique QR code after scheduling their appointment.

  • Use a mobile device to scan the recipient’s QR code. If you are logged into VAMS on the mobile device, scanning the QR code will take you to the recipient’s appointment record in VAMS. If you are not logged into VAMS on the mobile device, the log-in screen will appear, and you will need to log in before accessing the recipient’s appointment record.
  • After finding the recipient’s appointment in the table, click the recipient’s name.

NOTE: 2D barcode scanners are not compatible with QR codes and cannot be used to scan and check in recipients.

Manually Find Recipient Appointment in VAMS

You can manually search for appointments if the QR code is unavailable, or you do not have a barcode scanner. Follow the steps below to manually search for appointments:

  • Go to the Appointments table on the home page.
  • Use the drop-down in the table header to filter appointments scheduled for today, the next seven days, future appointments, or cancelled appointments. You also can sort appointments in the table by clicking any of the column headers to order the rows by those criteria.
  • Or you may search for an appointment by entering the recipient’s name or email address in the search bar at the top right of the appointments table. Note that you can search the recipient’s full name, or just the beginning of their name. For example, you can find the appointment for a recipient named William Smith by searching for “Will.”
  • After finding the recipient’s appointment in the table, click the recipient’s name.

Prevaccination Questionnaire Completion

The recipient must complete the Prevaccination Questionnaire before receiving the vaccination.

The system will indicate if the recipient has completed their Prevaccination Questionnaire. VAMS will allow you to check in a recipient who has not completed their Prevaccination Questionnaire. Please refer to your clinic’s check-in procedure to determine whether you should check in recipients who have not completed their Prevaccination Questionnaire.

Recipients should receive a notification prior to their appointment with a link to the questionnaire. Depending how far in advance the recipient scheduled their appointment, they should have received their notification within 15–20 minutes of appointment confirmation or 12 hours prior to their appointment time.

If the recipient completed the questionnaire, “The Recipient has completed the Prevaccination Questionnaire” will appear on the Validate Recipient screen. If they have not completed the questionnaire, you will be directed to a screen telling you “Recipient has not yet completed the Prevaccination Questionnaire,” and asking you to choose between one of the two options below prior to checking in the recipient:

  1. The recipient will log into their VAMS account or check their email to complete their Prevaccination Questionnaire.
  2. The healthcare provider will complete the Prevaccination Questionnaire with the recipient at the beginning of the appointment.
    • Select the option that aligns with your clinic’s procedures, then click Continue.

Validate Recipient Identification

After clicking Continue, you will be taken to the Validate Recipient screen.

  • You must validate:
    • The recipient’s first and last name
    • Their date of birth (DOB)
    • The recipient matches their photo ID, if a photo ID is required
  • Select the form of identification the recipient used, or select “No ID required for this clinic,” if applicable.
  • Recipients must reschedule their appointment if your clinic requires ID and they do not have a valid ID.
    • If a recipient does not have a valid ID, select “ID required, but not provided,” then click Next to cancel their appointment. VAMS sends a notification to the recipient asking them to reschedule their appointment.
  • If all information is correct and the recipient is on time for their appointment, click Next.

Manage Recipient Appointments

Appointment Status

  • After confirming the recipient’s identity and clicking Next, the recipient’s appointment status will change from “Scheduled” to “Checked-In.“
  • If the clinic or recipient cancels the appointment, the recipient’s appointment status will change to “Cancelled.“

Canceling Appointments

You can cancel a recipient’s appointment by following this process:

  • On the Recipient Check-In page in the Appointments table, click Cancel in the Cancel Appointment column.
  • A screen with the appointment details will appear.
  • Select a cancellation reason from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Cancel Appointment to cancel the appointment. Click Keep Appointment if you no longer want to cancel the appointment.
  • A cancellation confirmation message will appear. Click OK and you will return to the Clinic Portal home page.

Auto-Cancellation of No-Show Recipients

If a recipient does not appear for their appointment after four hours, VAMS marks them as a “no-show,” then cancels the appointment. You do not need to take further action.

The system processes these cancellations once per day. Any appointments cancelled before 2 PM will show as cancelled by 6 PM that same evening. Appointments cancelled after 2 PM will show as cancelled the following day. Cancellation emails for no-show recipients will be sent to them via their preferred contact method during these system processes.

Search For and Edit Recipients

When a recipient requests that you schedule them a walk-in appointment or a future appointment, your first step is to search for the recipient to see if they already have a VAMS account.

  • On the Recipient Check-In tab, click Search for Existing Recipient in the upper right corner.
  • You have two search options.
  • Enter one of these fields: email, VAMS ID, or External System ID.


Edit a Recipient Record

You can edit records for recipients who do not already have VAMS accounts.

  • To edit the record, click Search for Existing Recipient on the Recipient Check-in
  • Search for the recipient by entering the required information outlined on the previous page of this user manual.
  • Once you’ve found the correct recipient, click their name in the search results table to advance to the Recipient Information
  • On the Recipient Information page, click Edit to make any changes to the recipient record. Once you are finished, click Save.

NOTE: You cannot use this functionality to edit the recipient’s vaccination record, edit the records of recipients who have completed their vaccination schedule, or edit the records of recipients who have already registered in VAMS. If a registered recipient needs to edit their record, they can do so in the Recipient Portal.

Add New Recipients

Option 1: Adding a new recipient from Search

If you searched for an existing recipient but they did not exist in the system, you can add them as a new recipient by clicking Add New Recipient from the search page (see page 11 of this user manual).

Option 2: Adding a new recipient from the Recipient Check-in tab

In addition to adding a new recipient through the Search function, you can also directly add a new recipient to VAMS from the Recipient Check-in tab by clicking Add New Recipient.

Regardless of which option you use, you are directed to the same Recipient Information page.

  • On the Recipient Information page, enter the required recipient details:
    • First name
    • Last name
    • Date of birth
    • Gender
    • Race
    • Ethnicity
    • Home address
  • Entering an email address or phone number is optional.
  • If you enter an email address, VAMS will ask you to do two things:
    • Select the recipient’s preferred contact method.
    • Select if the recipient would like to create a VAMS account. If you select this, VAMS will send the recipient a registration email.
  • If you enter a cell phone number but no email address, you must still select a preferred contact method, but you will not have the option to create a VAMS account, as VAMS requires an email to create an account.NOTE: If you select “I prefer not to receive any communication from VAMS” under preferred contact method, the recipient will not receive any notifications from VAMS, including appointment follow-ups.
  • Once you’ve entered all applicable information, click

After clicking Next on the Recipient Information page, the system will direct you to the Insurance page.

Schedule Recipient Appointments

You can schedule walk-in appointments or future appointments for recipients from multiple places in VAMS. You will see Schedule Walk-in and Schedule Future Appointment when you:

The process flows detailed below are the same regardless of whether you click Schedule Walk-in or Schedule Future Appointment.

Schedule Walk-in Appointments for Recipients

  • To schedule a walk-in appointment for a recipient, click Schedule Walk-in.
  • The next screen will bring up the recipient’s name, date of birth, and email if provided.
  • If the recipient has no other scheduled appointments, the system will ask if you want to schedule a walk- in appointment for the recipient. Confirm the information and click Schedule Walk-in.
  • If the recipient has no prior doses recorded in VAMS, the system will ask you if the recipient received a prior dose outside of VAMS. If the answer is yes, you must enter the vaccine manufacturer and the date the recipient received the dose.
  • If the recipient has a first dose recorded in VAMS and is not yet due for the second dose, VAMS will alert you. In this scenario, VAMS will ask “Are you sure you want to vaccinate early?” You can proceed with vaccination or cancel.
  • Select Continue to proceed with scheduling the walk-in or Cancel to cancel scheduling the appointment.

NOTE: If the recipient already has an appointment scheduled at another clinic, the system will ask if you want to keep that appointment or cancel it and schedule a walk- in at your clinic. Make your selection. If proceeding with the walk-in appointment, follow the remaining steps below.

  • You will see an appointment confirmation screen with a QR code. If your clinic has QR code scanning capabilities, you can scan this code to check in the recipient. Otherwise, click Back to Clinic Portal and check in the recipient using the manual check-in process outlined in Section 1, Recipient Check-In.

Schedule Future Appointments for Recipients

  • To schedule a future appointment for a recipient, click Schedule Future Appointment.
  • If the recipient does not have another scheduled appointment, the system will ask you to confirm you want to schedule a future appointment. Click Schedule Future Appointment.
    • If the recipient does have another previously scheduled appointment, the system will ask you if you want to keep the existing appointment or cancel it and reschedule a future appointment.
  • Once you’ve clicked Schedule Future Appointment, if the recipient does not have a prior vaccine dose recorded in VAMS, the system will ask if they previously received a dose.
  • If they did receive a prior dose, select Yes. Then select the vaccine manufacturer (Pfizer- BioNTech, Moderna, J&J/Janssen, or I Don’t Remember) and enter the date of the vaccination.
  • If they did not receive a prior dose, select No.
  • Once you’ve made the appropriate selections, click Continue.

NOTE: The vaccine manufacturer and vaccination date fields only appear if you select Yes.

  • On the Date and Time page, select an available appointment date on the calendar located on the left side of the page. Days with available appointments are underlined in green. Days with no available appointments are underlined in gray. Days completely grayed out are days the clinic is not operating.NOTE: If you work at a mobile clinic with two or more locations that are currently active, the system will ask you to select the location for the appointment before continuing to the date and time selection screen.
  • Select the appointment time by clicking a time slot, then click Next. Only available time slots will appear. Each time slot will tell you how many appointments are currently available for that time (e.g., “2 slots” means two appointments are currently available at that time).NOTE: The system will hold the selected appointment time slot for 10 minutes. If the appointment is not confirmed by that time, the system will release it.
  • Review the selected appointment location, date, and time with the recipient.
  • Click Submit to confirm the appointment or Previous to make any changes.
  • After clicking Submit, you will see a confirmation that the recipient’s appointment is scheduled. The confirmation includes the appointment details and a QR code for contactless check-in.NOTE: If the recipient provided a contact method, they will also receive the appointment confirmation through their preferred contact method.

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