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Opinion: Vaccine Registration Must be Fixed

At 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, the District opened access to an additional 1,436 appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Many of those attempting to register for a slot reported frustration. The number of appointments is limited by how many doses the District receives from federal authorities. However, some reported that their efforts to register were stymied by glitches in the online registration system itself.

Francis Campbell is a former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC 6B10. He outlines his experience below.

So I’m retired now. After 30 years as a Resspiratory Therapist, RRT/CRTT, I’m retired. After working at Amtrak and being injured on the job, I’m retired. I enjoy the occassional morning sleeping in. Most days, I’m [like] the wife’s UBER driver as she’s an essential hospital employee and I’m taking her to work at 7 a.m. daily.

But not this Monday. On Jan. 18, I was up at 8:15 a.m., parked on the District COVID website to be ready to register for the much-anticipated vaccine.

9:00: no access. 9:01: no access. finally 9:02 open. I attempt to register and the site refuses to acknowledge the code it’s just given me. After 5 more attempts I finally get access.

I feel a small amount of relief and continue on. I get to the info page and type in my anme and address and the like. The site tells me it doesn’t exist. Really?? I’ve only lived on the block for over 40 years!

Finally, I get past whatever this hold up is and get to the page that tells you you’re successful. Now have to pick a time and site to get the vaccine, somewhere within 5 to 100 miles.

Giant is the only pharmacy that comes up on the site so I pick a time and date only to be told that they are not now available. So I go back and pick another date and time. Same message, NOT AVAILABLE, so I expand my options. A week, a month, two months, all the way to the end of February 2021. Nothing is available.

[The system] acknowledges that my information is correct after multiple attempt to submit. So, I’m thinking I’m finally at the site to scheduled, but I cannot get past the “location” page on the site for over an hour because the damn thing is “searching”!

Searching for what??? A pharmacy within 100 miles, a time to get the shot, a date to schedule the shot?

There were 1,436 slots available at 9 a.m., but I can’t get past the search page on the site, despite the fact that I’ve been on the site since 8:15 a.m. It’s now after 10 a.m., and the damn thing has crashed multiple times. It’s now that I get a message on my cell that there are no more appointments available, and I’m sitting here wondering “What the HELL??”The District has to do better. Even if you all have your information prepared, you can’t register if the site has multiple crashes, slow-downs or fails to recognize the existing addresses in the city –or even the code that the very same system is giving you in order to proceed.

There are many of us who are now over 65, trying to just make it through the day, week, month during a pandemic and an occuaption. Many of us are still trying to navigate to necessary jobs through all of this foolishness formented by a few misguided idiots. We don’t need the added frustrations of a city site that is supposed to help us achieve some small needed and necessary treatment [but] instead further frustrates us and send us on a wild goose chase to futility.

Mayor Bowser, get the damn thing fixed!


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