Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Waiting Room Overwhelmed
As much of an optimist as I am, it's hard to put a positive spin on the method in which vaccine appointments are being matched up to Bay Staters that are looking for vaccines. It has been a struggle, to say the least.
Last week, when Governor Charlie Baker announced that the eligible age to get a vaccine was being lowered to 65 years old, the response to the state's vaccine scheduling site was so overwhelming that the website's server crashed for hours. This left many already confused and frustrated seniors wondering how in the world they were going to navigate the internet and land an appointment that isn't a long way from home.
While heading into Gillette Stadium or Fenway Park might not be intimidating to many younger people, I can certainly understand how someone 65-plus (and especially 75-plus) might not feel like they are capable of making what they'd probably consider a long drive. Add in the uncertainty of how they'll enter the stadium and what the wait would be like, and it is daunting for much of the SouthCoast's elderly population.
Baker was so unhappy about the state's vaccine scheduling website crashing at such a critical time, he decided to change up the way the site would work. A virtual waiting room was created to prevent hundreds of thousands of people from signing on at the same time and crashing the site.
Today was the first day with the virtual waiting room. We signed on shortly after 8 a.m. to see how things were going. The wait was over an hour to get into the site. By 10 a.m., the wait was over two and a half hours. By 10:30, the wait time was over 300 minutes, or five hours.
As of 11 a.m., the site threw in the towel. "Your estimated wait time is unavailable," it whimpered.
Back to the drawing board.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.