MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota state vaccine registration site has crashed as newly eligible seniors try to get appointments for some of the few doses available to the group.
The state began taking appointments at noon Tuesday for a limited supply of 12,000 doses available to seniors, teachers and child care workers at nine sites statewide. The call center has received more than 83,000 calls, with up to 2,000 hits per second. People are reporting long waits and error messages on the registration website.
State health officials say half of the doses are reserved for seniors and half are for teachers and child care workers.
Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann issued the following statement on the first day of scheduling vaccine appointments:
"What we are seeing is extraordinarily pent-up demand for vaccine. Nearly 1 million Minnesotans age 65 and over are trying to get a few thousand doses of vaccines that have been made available to Minnesota. We recognize many Minnesotans waited a long time today and we thank them for their patience."
"Unfortunately, there is no way to get around the fact there will be frustrations as we continue to deal with the extreme supply shortage."
"But every shot in the arm of another Minnesotan puts us one step closer to crushing COVID-19 and meeting the goal of getting millions of Minnesotans vaccinated as quickly and as safely as possible. These pilot clinics are about helping us figure out what works and what doesn’t work in these settings. We are learning every step of the way, and this process will set us on a path for a more extensive network of community vaccination clinics in Minnesota communities as the federal government increases vaccine supply."
"Today taught us important lessons – and so will each successive day of this pilot program. Since registration opened at noon today, we’ve experienced continuous high call volume to the vaccine registration call center and traffic to the web registration page. More than 232,000 calls have been processed through the call center as of 3:45 p.m., and at the peak the website was processing more than 10,000 hits per second."
"The state website handled the traffic well, though the vendor site that processes registrations experienced some slowdowns. The vendor temporarily closed the system to new users to better manage traffic, but the system never stopped processing appointments. We are investigating the web traffic patterns to determine what caused the slowdown, and we will put to work what we learn."
"As of 4:15 p.m., more than 5,000 Minnesotans had scheduled appointments for their first and second vaccine doses through the system, totaling nearly 11,000 appointments booked today. First dose appointments for up to 6,000 Minnesotans age 65 and older are available this week."