CORONAVIRUS

Appointments Canceled For 7,200 Utahns Who Scheduled Vaccine In Error

Feb 28, 2021, 10:39 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2023, 12:04 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The glitch that led thousands of Utahns to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine before they were eligible has been fixed.

Health officials said they are now preparing for the biggest county in the state to open up vaccines to all qualifying Utahns over the age of 16. It’s been quite a rocky start, but officials said it’s a good problem — we just need to let those who need the vaccine most stand in line first.

“(With) all of the immune system problems… my doctors recommended I stay home,” said Amanda Laughton who recently qualified to receive the vaccine.

Laughton has not left her home for nearly a year since the pandemic began.

“They suspected COVID would likely kill me, so I kind of had to be really, really careful,” she said.

That’s why Amanda said she was thrilled when Gov. Spencer Cox opened the door during a COVID-19 press briefing for those 16 and older with qualifying medical conditions to sign up for the vaccine.

“If you are eligible and can find an appointment in another county, that’s perfectly fine, go for it,” Cox said in the presser.

But just as the governor predicted, the process hasn’t been smooth.

“We have decided to embrace the chaos,” he said.

Amanda spent nearly two hours, jumping from website to website, looking for openings to get the vaccine.

“It was definitely overwhelming to go to a store for the first time to get a vaccine,” said Laughton.

Amanda said she experienced long lines and poor social distancing measures when she arrived for her appointment.

“It was just jam packed, full of people, and it was a really terrible location to be doing vaccinations at all,” she said.

Things only got trickier following Saturday’s rumors that led more than 7,000 Utahns, not yet eligible for the vaccine, to sign up on the state’s website.

On Sunday, state health department officials told KSL the glitch was fixed — 1,000 people cancelled their own appointments, and the state sent out text messages to the remaining 6,200.

A picture of a text message Utahns who signed up for a vaccine in error got, notifying them their appointment was cancelled.

Although the situation was resolved, officials said the sign-up process still goes by the honor system.

“We are going for speed over accuracy,” said Cox. “That is a choice we had to make, which means that it is possible for people to lie about whether or not they have one of these underlying health conditions.”

But Cox said the end is in sight as he projected that every Utahn who wants a vaccine will have a chance to get one by May. For now, he encouraged Utahns to be patient and keep wearing their face masks.

“[If we keep masking and stay on pace with vaccinations] I’m telling you, I’m not going to be wearing this on the 4th of July,” said the Governor.

Health officials said they have seen an increase in people scheduling multiple appointments in an effort to get in sooner. They advised against this and said it’s best to just stick with the first one you make.

More information can be found on the state’s coronavirus website or your local county health department website.

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Appointments Canceled For 7,200 Utahns Who Scheduled Vaccine In Error