High demand for vaccine appointments crashes Tampa Bay sign-up sites, jams phone lines

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay’s vaccine rollout got off to a rocky start on Monday with websites crashing, phone lines going down and sites reaching full capacity.

In Hillsborough County, people trying to make an appointment to get vaccinated online were told the website was not available.

In a tweet, the county health department said its registration system and phone center were experiencing service interruptions and that delays were to be expected. The county later said it’s online scheduling service was not available, and encouraged seniors to make appointments by phone.

The demand for vaccines led to jammed phone lines in Pinellas County. The department was also experiencing issues with its website. As of this writing, the site appears to be down, although the department tweeted it was back up and running shortly before 1 p.m.

Both counties began taking appointments for the vaccine on Monday. Hillsborough County plans to distribute about 1,500 doses at four locations across the county. People can make a reservation by calling 888-755-2822 or visiting  hccovidshot.as.me.

Pinellas County residents can contact the health department at 727-824-6900 or call their COVID-19 call center at 866-779-6121. To register, they should visit pinellas.floridahealth.gov and follow instructions.

News Channel 8 has reached out to both health departments for comment. This story will be updated once we hear back.

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