Doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Brad Horrigan/The Hartford Courant/TNS

WATERTOWN — The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, in collaboration with its health care partners across the region, has launched a new initiative for north country residents to ask COVID-19 vaccine-related questions, which will be answered by local medical providers.

“We understand that getting the COVID vaccine is a personal choice,” Erika Flint, FDRHPO executive director, said in a statement. “We want to support people with resources to help them make an informed decision — one based on science rather than the opinions of peers or politics.”

The online submission of questions is a continuation of the August call-in event led by Samaritan Medical Center, in which local providers from the tri-county area manned phones to answer questions from the community. According to Joanna Loomis, FDRHPO’s deputy director of the North Country Initiative, the volume of calls during that event was much greater than expected, which indicates that there are still questions out there.

This campaign provides an online opportunity for individuals to ask questions by submitting an online form. Local physicians — including in primary care, pediatrics and OB-GYN — have committed time to returning calls and answering questions. Several FDRHPO partner organizations have helped guide the direction of this campaign, including public health agencies, hospitals, health centers and community-based organizations.

Once an online webform is completed and submitted, a local provider will call within 48 business hours to answer questions and provide medical and scientific information to assist people in making informed decisions.

“This campaign is one more opportunity for individuals to seek scientific, medical evidence about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy by having a one-on-one conversation with a local medical professional,” Mrs. Loomis said in a statement. “It is OK to have questions about the vaccine, and we encourage anyone with questions to speak with their personal medical provider. However, this option is available for those who do not have a provider or otherwise prefer this method of asking questions.”

The webform to submit questions can be accessed here:

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