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Confusion Lingers Over Booking COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Some Utahns have said they are finding it increasingly tough to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the state’s coronavirus website as more than 700,000 additional residents became eligible for vaccinations Monday.

Alison Taylor works on computers all day, every day. She was thrilled last week when she got the news that a vaccine would be available to her age group.

Then she tried to book an appointment.

“I was extremely disappointed because I’m dying to get vaccinated,” Taylor said. “I’m extremely frustrated. I have said repeatedly to anyone who will listen that I can’t wait to get my vaccine.”

She followed the links on the website but kept getting redirected, and some links would send her back to the previous page.

KSL’s Debbie Worthen started digging to see what the problem was. As she tried to find available appointments, it became clear: The state’s site isn’t set up to host registrations. Instead, it’s a landing page that links to dozens of places across the state that might have available vaccines.

Taylor spent hours clicking through locations indicating they had openings, only to find they were out of the vaccine. And, when she went to the Salt Lake County Health Department link, she found something really strange.

“There were no vaccines unless I go to Blanding,” she said, which seemed weird since Blanding is six hours away in San Juan County.

Turns out, one of the links the state has set up is called Vaccine Finder. But only Salt Lake and Juab counties participate in that search engine.

In short, health department-hosted locations in Salt Lake County were out of appointments until later this month, but Juab County had openings.

And other places sponsored by drug companies and pharmacies in Salt Lake County possibly had openings as well — but those don’t show up in a search on the Salt Lake County Health Department’s page.

Taylor was blown away by the process.

“It’s horrendous,” she said. “The state website that the state takes you to is kind of a joke.”

The good news is when people struggling to book online called the number listed at coronavirus.utah.gov, they were able to book same-day appointments.

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