Utah County officials apologize for COVID-19 vaccine registration problems

Jan 20, 2021, 6:07 PM

PROVO, Utah — Extremely high demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has led to frustration among Utah County residents.  Many of them were not able to sign up for a vaccination appointment, and county officials are apologizing for the delay.

On Monday, Jason Herlevi tried to book an appointment for his parents.  He saw a text message from Utah County, saying there were spots open in their schedule, and that people should try to book one as soon as possible.  However, when he tried to log on to the county’s website, it wouldn’t load.

He tried again on Tuesday, twice, to no avail.

“It kept on returning an error message on the website,” Herlevi said.

RELATED:  Utah County to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to non-hospital healthcare workers

Being a software engineer, Herlevi said he could tell the web traffic on the county’s website was too much for the system to handle.  When the pages did load, he said they would time out very quickly. 

He also has doubts about how secure the site is.

It felt very much like trying to get a concert ticket and you have bots out there scooping them up immediately and you have no chance to get it.”

Officials with the Utah County Health Department (UCHD) said they don’t blame the public for being upset. 

“We completely understand the public asking why is this happening and not being happy about it,” spokesperson Aislynn Tolman-Hill said.

The problem stemmed from a huge amount of people trying to book appointments at the same time.  Tolman-Hill said UCHD’s IT department had to shut the website down for an hour for load-level maintenance to make sure more people can log on to the website.

“We actually were able to handle those extreme levels of traffic early on.  Then, it seemed like we were having some back-end traffic issues with some of the databases we were using,” she said.

The UCHD will send out texts to people when more appointment slots become available.  People can sign up for those updates by texting “uchealth” to 888777.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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Utah County officials apologize for COVID-19 vaccine registration problems