Pinellas County fills appointments for 8,000 new vaccines despite morning portal crash

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Pinellas County residents called and emailed WFLA Saturday morning frustrated with the county’s vaccine registration functionality. The county says it’s an issue with the vendor’s registration system.

Pinellas County opened its online registration site at 10 a.m. Saturday for 8,000 new doses of the vaccine it had received. The county is still only allowing those 65+ to receive a vaccine at this time.

After many residents saw immediate functionality issues on the website, the county released the following statement:

Pre-registration portal update: The vendor has reported a system issue affecting the portal, due to a national core outage. The company is working on resolving these issues promptly. We will share updates on this page as soon as the vendor advises the issue is resolved.

The county and CDR Maguire, a consulting agency, posted on its Facebook pages that Salesforce, a software company, experienced a national server outage that prevented vaccination appointments for Pinellas going live.

By Saturday afternoon, the company said it resolved their national server outage, and vaccination appointments went live before 2 p.m.

Linda West tried for a third time to register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment Saturday morning.

She, like thousands of other people in Pinellas County, had no luck once the clock hit 10:00 a.m.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” West said.

At 9:30 a.m. West called the Pinellas County COVID-19 support line to get help with logging in. She ultimately heard an automated message that said all available appointments have been scheduled.

She went to the website 30 minutes later, as instructed by the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. She got a message that said there are no appointments available at this time. A few minutes later, the website crashed.

“You got rid of some frustration and anxiety when you knew there was a vaccine but now this is adding to the anxiety again,” West said. “They either need a different system or they need to send a big chuck of vaccine so they can give it to the people who want it.”

The county announced at 2:25 it had filled all appointments for its 8,000 available vaccinations.

“Same, er.. scenario … Different day,” another resident told WFLA Saturday.

Jeff in Pinellas County had the following recommendation:

“Todays Pinellas county signup was full in <15 minutes. Why don’t they save everyone the aggravation and just hold a lottery for anyone who has created an account on the website.  Just as fair and no frustrating overloaded websites and phone lines.”

Another resident, Paul, said he believes Saturday morning’s registration for the vaccine shots “was a scam and a farce.”

“It goes without saying I am disillusioned with the county in what appears to have been a less then honorable distribution of these vaccine shots.”

Bob in Pinellas County said he tried to get in at 10:02 a.m. but received a notice that all appointments had already been filled.

“What a disaster this is,” he messaged WFLA.

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