Residents experiencing difficulties registering for COVID-19 vaccine across east Alabama

Residents experiencing difficulties with East Alabama’s COVID-19 vaccine registration portal

RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - The COVID-19 vaccine rollout effort continues across east Alabama.

The state has finally launched it’s online registration portal after almost two months of only having a telephone hotline available for registration.

There have been some kinks with the system. One Alabama couple says they’re upset with the way things have turned out for them in their efforts to sign up to receive the vaccine. According to John and Beverly Gibbs, they registered to get their shot on March 8, but they received an email informing them their appointment had been rescheduled to five months later in August. Then, they received another email saying the appointment changed again, this time to April 2021.

“On the 13th, we got an email from the Russell County Health Department. Just an email telling us our appointment had been changed to August 5th.”, said Beverly Gibbs. “No notification to us what so ever. We don’t know why it was changed. I thought maybe the computer system was hacked.”

According to health department officials, the rescheduling of appointments is due to a system error. When the online portal first launched, there was no caps on how many people could register for a particular date. So now, Alabamians may receive emails informing them of rescheduled appointments.

“As of February the 8th, I believe that was the date that the system rolled out online, and very quickly, due to shot allocation by counties, those appointments filled up very quickly”, said Tim Hatch, assistant administrator for the East Central District of the Alabama Department of Health. “On that rollout date, there were certain dates not capped at the maximum amount, and so some people had to be rescheduled. The earliest available date was given for that reschedule.”

”Send me an email. Send me a text. Let me have some say so in this. Don’t make all the decisions for me. You didn’t make the decision for me to make this appointment. Don’t make the decision for me to break this appointment,” said John Gibbs.

John and Beverly Gibbs say they’re frustrated with the Alabama Department of Health when it comes to scheduling their COVID-19 vaccine.

They’ll be receiving their doses Friday in Opelika at Walmart.

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