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Salt Lake County Website Crashes On Seniors Registering For Vaccination

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake County seniors who tried to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning had major problems after servers crashed because of overwhelming traffic.

Getting up early is something Roberta Lovell does every day. Wednesday morning, though, she couldn’t wait to get out of bed.

“Oh yeah. I’ve been waiting quite a while,” she said with a laugh.

She and her husband, both 76 years old, could finally sign up for an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

It’s something they both have been waiting for. “So that we could actually get out and do travel and meet with friends and do things we used to do,” said Lovell. 

However, when they tried getting an appointment on the Salt Lake County Health Department website at 8 a.m., they couldn’t.

“We both tried to get on, and as you were doing it, it would stop. It would just crash,” she said. 

It turns out the Lovell’s weren’t alone. Thousands of people had the same issues. 

Starting Wednesday morning senior citizens age 70 year and older could start making appointments to get the vaccine next week, but most couldn’t get the website to work properly.

“I am grateful to everybody for their patience, and again, I want to apologize for the glitch this morning,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. 

Wilson and Health Department executive director Gary Edwards held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to explain what happened and why it won’t happen again. 

“Nobody ever wants something like this to happen,” said Edwards. “We do know that it does happen when large registration systems get rolled out.”

Basically, so many people tried to use the system at the same time that it paralyzed the servers. 

However, the county said the website was working within a couple of hours. 

“I do think we recovered incredibly quickly and within a couple of hours, those appointments were full,” said Wilson. “It won’t impact anything we’re doing next week, but many had a frustrating experience this morning. And again, for that, we apologize.” 

Edwards said as soon as the health department started receiving phone calls about the issue, they contacted their website vendor to increase traffic capacity. 

“They were able to respond quickly and add two new servers to our effort this morning with commitment to add four more servers moving forward,” said Edwards. 

The Lovells eventually got their appointments, and they hope the process to get vaccinated improves.

“I was looking forward to it to be smooth because I thought Utah, they do things better than other states,” said Lovell. 

Lovell also wondered if a snowstorm on her appointment date would cause her to lose her place in line for the vaccine. 

Edwards said no, and that doses would be saved for those who had confirmed appointments that are rolled to the next day.

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