SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – COVID-19 vaccine registration for Utahns 70 and older has had its complications. Available appointments have filled up fast, leaving many wondering when a second registration will open up.
For residents in Salt Lake County, there might not be another registration like the first one.
On Jan. 8, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox addressed the state about the ongoing coronavirus vaccine rollout. During the briefing, Gov. Cox announced an executive order addressing statewide vaccination distribution.
The order stated that vaccine distribution for Utahns age 70 and older would begin on Jan. 18 through their local health departments.
“Vaccine distribution will be managed by local health departments that have the ability to vaccinate at a minimum of 50,000 people per week,” Gov. Cox said. “It’s a time to be vigilant and hopeful.”
The week prior to Jan. 18, local health departments opened online and over-the-phone vaccine registration. In Salt Lake County, when residents attempted to register online, many experienced glitches and error notifications.
According to the Salt Lake County Health Department, tens of thousands of residents simultaneously attempted to load the Salt Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination registration form. The site could not handle the volume and experienced crashes.
After residents were able to successfully schedule a time to receive their vaccine, the department accidentally sent a cancellation notice to people scheduled for several vaccination events in late February.
“People who received the erroneous notice will receive a correction if they have not already,” the Salt Lake County Health Department shared. “We apologize profusely.”
Available appointments filled up fast, leaving many Salt Lake County residents wondering when a second registration will open up.
Nicholas Rupp, Spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department, tells ABC4 News the health department does not anticipate another open registration for 70 and older county residents.
Rupp says 70 and older residents will be able to receive a vaccine by joining a waitlist.
“We are inviting people from the waitlist to schedule appointments that become available each week due to cancellations or additional vaccine received. We are inviting them in the order they signed up,” Rupp shares.
He says in the first week of vaccine distribution, the health department invited 1,500 from the waitlist to schedule appointments.
According to the Salt Lake County Health Department’s website, they have allocated all vaccine doses they are expecting through February 27. The website providers visitors with a link to complete a form to be notified by the health department when COVID vaccine appointments become available.
Rupp tells ABC4 the waiting list is “only for people who do not already have an appointment; rescheduling an appointment is not possible.”
He says the health department receives vaccine shipments every week. The current doses in each shipment have been allocated through the end of February, Rupp adds.
Rupp says he wants to remind the public the waitlist is only for people 70 and older. “People under 70 who are not healthcare workers will be turned away since they are not yet eligible for vaccine under the governor’s executive order.”
If you have an appointment to get vaccinated in Salt Lake County but are unable to drive yourself or independently or arrange transportation for yourself, please call 385-468-4636 for assistance in getting to your appointment.