Vaccination frustration: Thousands of Utah County residents hit snags trying to get appointments

News

PROVO (ABC4 News) – The Utah County Health Department has been overwhelmed by requests from older adults who want to get the Covid-19 vaccine this week, leading to a frustrating experience for tens of thousands.

On Wednesday, the state’s second-largest county’s vaccine scheduling site crashed.

“One of the issues we experienced was literally, 60 and 70,000 people per minute trying to access appointments, trying to schedule appointments,” spokesperson Aislynn Tolman-Hill. “Which is really an immense amount of traffic and it did cause some real problems for that site.”

The health department didn’t have enough staff to answer the tidal wave of phone calls and angry residents took to Facebook, one resident commenting, “We can tell your department was very, very unprepared for this. The website does not work, tell people to call and cannot get through.”

Another person wrote: “I tried all day to get my 85-year-old Dad an appointment with no luck. I think trying to get an appointment is like winning a lottery” and another posted “This is definitely a joke but it is far from funny! I’m starting to feel like I did about ten years ago trying to get Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus concert tickets for my daughter!”

“Yesterday was a rough day. I won’t lie to you,” Tolman-Hill told ABC4 News Thursday. “Yesterday was a rough day for us. We have quadrupled our phone capacity today from what it was yesterday.”

So ABC4 called the county helpline number and got a recording.

“We are currently experiencing a high volume of callers,” the recorded voice said. “Please call back later.”

The website is back up but the only two appointment opportunities listed Thursday were full.

“Absolutely it’s been frustrating for the public. It’s been frustrating for us as well,” Tolman-Hill said. “There are so many people that do want the vaccine, rightly so and when they don’t get it they’re frustrated, they’re upset, rightly so. It’s a hard situation for everyone.”

Tolman-Hill says it’s a problem of supply and demand and she encourages people to keep attempting to book appointments.

To schedule appointments, call the Utah County COVID-19 Help Line at 801-851-HELP (4357) M-F, 10-3 or go to: https://health.utahcounty.gov/covid-19-vaccine/

To see Utah County cases over time and by location: health.utahcounty.gov/covid-19-coronavirus/

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