Wake County opened up its appointment system for COVID-19 vaccinations this morning and, initially at least, things did not go well.

Those eligible for the vaccine–now including 133,000 Wake residents over age 65 in addition to some 51,000 healthcare workers, plus long-term care staff and residents–should have been able to sign up for a time slot to get vaccinated via a county phone hotline or through a web form, beginning at 8:30 this morning.

Within minutes of opening, the website hosting the form crashed due to too many people trying to sign up at once. For the phone line, reported wait times approached three hours.

Despite the early issues, plenty of folks were able to add their names to the vaccine waitlist today, says Stacy Beard, a communications manager for Wake County.

“As of 11:30 a.m., we have had 8,892 people successfully complete the request for vaccine,” Beard wrote in an email to the INDY this afternoon. “Of those, 7,849 were from Group 2 (our 65+), and 636 from Group 1 (our health care workers), and 407 who are not eligible yet. As of 2:45, we have had 20,000 people complete the vaccine request form, either by phone or email. 17,494 in Group 2 (65+), 1,871 in Group 1, and 563 not eligible.”

This morning’s problems are just the latest in a series of issues that have plagued Wake County and the state regarding the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Initially, county officials worried about the amount of vaccine available in Wake for its transition into Phase 1b, due to the size of its population and the concentration of healthcare workers who reside here.

And last week, the Carolina Public Press reported myriad problems that are slowing the rollout of the vaccine statewide, including limitations on how many patients healthcare workers can see at a time due to social distancing guidelines, issues with a state-run computerized vaccine management system, an inability to plan for vaccinations due to short lead times in knowing how much vaccine is available, and a public health workforce that is stretched thin in many counties.

The COVID vaccine hotline in Durham, too, seems to be experiencing problems, with a busy signal or disconnection message greeting callers who dial the 919-560-HELP number. 

Now, Wake’s vaccine request web form is working. The county’s 24/7 phone line number is 919-250-1515. 

“Please keep trying to get online and get through, but just know it may take some time and a few tries,” said Beard. 

Follow Editor-in-Chief Jane Porter on Twitter or send an email to jporter@indyweek.com

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle. 

One reply on “Wake’s COVID Vaccine Signup Website Crashes, Patients Report Long Wait Times on Phone Hotline”

Comments are closed.