Vaccine Portal Glitch Bars Qualified Individuals from Registration

346
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) speaks during a situational update report about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Thursday morning DC residents ages 18 and over were eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they qualified with an underlying health condition such as asthma, heart conditions and diabetes.

The District’s vaccine registration website, however, experienced several technical difficulties that prevented many qualified individuals from registering this morning. Some noted that the site was simply ‘down’ while others reported that those under the age of 65 were unable to register online even though through the vaccine rollout they were eligible to receive it.

DC Health released a statement Thursday afternoon apologizing to those who qualified for the vaccine but were unable to register.

“We know how stressful of a time this is, and we regret that this unfortunate situation occurred on a day when many of our residents with chronic health conditions were newly eligible for vaccination appointments,” the statement read.

In the statement, DC Health said that the technical review failure has been addressed as of 3:00 p.m. The department is currently working with Microsoft in anticipation of extremely high traffic during future appointment releases, they added.

Many frustrated Washingtonians took to Twitter to express concern about these technical failures. Steven Costanza tweeted calling the outage an “incredible IT failure.”

“Fundamentally this is an incredible IT failure and I’d love to hear the story about who forgot to push the new business rules for the form to production rather than the classic / general “failure to plan” piece,” Costanza wrote.

Judah Ariel also tweeted about his experience using the call center but was on hold for over 30 minuets. He shared his experience and encouraged those still in need of an appointment to be direct about their underlying health conditions on the phone.

“One tip for those trying again tomorrow: The call center only asked if I was 65+ or worked in a qualifying occupation,” Ariel wrote. “I had to bring up the fact that I have a qualifying medical condition, but once I did I was able to get an appointment.”

The web portal and call center will open as scheduled tomorrow for all eligible individuals starting at 9:00 a.m., and 4,350 appointments will be available.

DC Health is also adding a registration session on Saturday, February 27 at 9:00 a.m. for eligible residents with qualifying medical conditions in priority zip codes. This will include 3,500 appointments.

You can schedule a vaccine appointment by visiting (vaccinate.dc.gov) or calling (855-363-0333).

Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at [email protected].