Minnesota website, phones struggle to keep up with demand for COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Minnesota website, phones struggle to keep up with demand for COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: January 19, 2021 01:35 PM
Created: January 19, 2021 01:24 PM

Minnesota's online portal and phone lines struggled to keep up with demand for COVID-19 vaccine appointments after appointments opened Tuesday at noon.

Phone lines had long waits and the state's website struggled to load for many Minnesotans.

Once loaded, the website warned Minnesotans, "We are experiencing extremely high call volume and traffic to the vaccine registration page. The vendor is working to address these technical issues. Please check back momentarily."

It comes a day after Minnesota announced a vaccine pilot program that made pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers and school staff, child care workers and people 65 years of age and older eligible to receive the vaccine.

Gov. Tim Walz on Monday acknowledged that, due to the very limited supply of vaccines, many Minnesotans will be frustrated by not being able to get an appointment immediately. He urged Minnesotans to be patient and expressed hope that the federal government would be able to increase vaccine supplies to states in the near future.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm noted that more than 1.5 million Minnesotans are now eligible to receive the vaccine, and the state only receives 60,000 doses per week. Of that, only 12,000 doses are being allocated to the pilot program so far, meaning very few of the newly eligible Minnesotans will actually get appointments.

For those who cannot immediately make an appointment, MDH said they may be able to sign up for a waitlist.

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