Sunday, January 31, 2021

Getting a Covid vaccination in New Jersey: issues with the state registration/appointment system as of January 31, 2021

Further to the IPBiz post on Covid vaccinations in Somerset County [Real Story], one notes that the New Jersey Covid registration system was savaged by NBC Nightly News on Saturday, January 30, 2021, with text including:

When the New Jersey vaccine registration system failed, residents grappled with calling 100 different phone numbers and checking 63 unique websites for appointments. Despite supply issues, mass vaccination sites continue to open in large cities such as Denver and New York City

The Newark Star-Ledger on January 31, 2021 ran a cover story on the inadequacies of the registration/appointment system, which illustrated that the problem was far more than residents failing to master it. [See also below]

P. Kenneth Burns of WHYY has a post titled How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey , which includes text

If you’re not computer-savvy, Fisher suggests calling the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 855-568-0545. Starting Sunday, Jan. 31, residents will be able to use the hotline to make appointments. When the hotline first went live Monday, Jan. 25, there was a lot of interest, causing extremely high call volume — agents fielded 58,000 calls in the first four hours. Those issues have since been resolved, Fisher said.

I phoned the 0545 number on January 31, 2021, and got a recorded message, followed by a hangup. The recorded message did acknowledge difficulties with the scheduling/appointment system, which were, according to the message, still being worked on.

Burns did reference the NJ Spotlight article [see also previous discussion in IPBiz]

The short answer is that not all of the scheduling systems talk to one another, so if you registered with a county or pharmacy website, the state website will never know. As NJ Spotlight recently reported, only about 5% of all vaccine sites are using the state’s online registration system to schedule appointments, so even if you pre-register through the state, you will likely still need to make an appointment with your local vaccine site separately.

As things stand now, this is a VERY IMPORTANT POINT for New Jerseyans to understand.

As to the New Jersey state registration/appointment system, the Newark Star-Ledger, on Sunday, January 31, has significant coverage of the problems. The text begins as follows


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