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Salt Lake County residents frustrated by problems with COVID-19 vaccine registration


County mayor apologizes for failure of health department’s website.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Davis County School District began COVID-19 Pfizer vaccinations for its teachers at the Davis County Legacy Center in Farmington on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Utahns ran into issues as they tried to sign up online to be vaccinated in Salt Lake County on Wednesday, when county residents ages 70 and older could begin booking appointments.

The Salt Lake County Health Department’s online registration for COVID-19 vaccinations ran into major problems on Wednesday morning, leaving older residents and their families frustrated and unhappy.

“We recognize our system for scheduling failed and are working to address,” tweeted Mayor Jenny Wilson. “We apologize. Please stand by.”

The county had planned to begin registering residents age 70 and older to receive coronavirus vaccines at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, but those trying to register ran into roadblocks.

“It’s been very troublesome,” said Salt Lake City resident Jen Kious. “I’ve been waiting with bated breath to try to get my two 80-year-old parents vaccines. I got up at 8 a.m., and it hasn’t worked.”

Kenneth Sperling said that filling out most of the online form was “straightforward,” but “the problem is that when you get down to the bottom and you go to hit register, it says, ‘Select visit date.’ There is no box on the form for a visit date.”

“You get it all filled out, you hit submit, and then you’re stuck in cyberspace,” he said.

Kious ran into that same problem, and others. She said she forgot to enter her parent’s gender and was flagged — and when she tried to add it, all the other information she’d previously entered was erased.

Kious said she’s seen changes on the page as she’s tried to register. “They’re clearly trying to fix it.”

On a subsequent attempt to register, she said, the request for a visit date came up before the rest of the form, “but then when we got to the end and hit register, it gave an error statement saying, ‘Max number for this date.’ So it had obviously given us times that were already full.”

When she tried a different date, she received a message telling her she’d already registered. “So I actually don’t know if I’m registered or not. …. I have the utmost respect for the public health department. They have worked incredibly hard during this pandemic. I would not want to criticize them. But it’s very frustrating because I’ve been trying to hard to protect my parents.”

John Keahey, a former Salt Lake Tribune staffer, ran into the same problem. “When I finished the form, it would tell me that the time I selected was not available,” he said. “I went back two or three times in response to ‘not available’ messages and when I selected the third one, the form went away. I don’t know if I am registered or not. No indication.”

Keahey said that he believes he was able to register in a subsequent attempt shortly before 10 a.m., “but in the confusion, I didn’t record the date I finally chose that was accepted” — an issue Kious also ran into. Keahey is hoping the county health department will send email reminders.

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