A website launched by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Tuesday allowing residents to register online to receive the COVID-19 vaccine immediately crashed due to high volume.
“The website was crashing early Tuesday morning, but was still working for some people,” WAVY reported. “As of 10:30 a.m., the issues appeared to have mostly subsided.”
The site was built as a virtual line for COVID-19 vaccinations. When it is working, it allows Virginians to input their personal information so they can receive communication from the state when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.
The site does not allow Virginians to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.
According to a VDH press release, appointments to receive the vaccine must be made through the private vendor that distributes the vaccine, like CVS.
It appears that VDH anticipated issues with the site upon it launch.
“The Virginia Department of Health expects millions of unique visits to the site on Tuesday, and IT teams will be addressing back-end components as needed throughout the day,” their press release said. “Anyone who cannot get through immediately should try again.”
The incident was reminiscent of the launch of Healthcare.gov, the $840 million project initially contracted to a Canadian technology firm, CGI Group Inc. That site was supposed to allow Americans to enroll in Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) programs. But when it launched in 2013, it also crashed immediately. It took weeks to fix the embarrassing blunder, and to get the site to function properly.
The Virginia Star reached out to Maria Reppas, VDH’s communications director, to find out who built the site, and how much it cost to build. She did not return that comment request in time for publication.
Virginia remains in phase 1b of its COVID-19 vaccination program. That group workers who have been deemed “essential,” like police and fire first responders, along with grocery store workers, mail carriers, public transit workers, corrections workers, and others.
Doctors, nurses, and high-risk elderly Virginians were vaccinated in phase 1a.
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