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ST. GEORGE, Utah — High demand for the COVID-19 vaccine from southwest Utah residents aged 70 and older caused the local health department's website to crash on Monday morning.
"We understand how frustrating this is for many of our seniors," read a statement from David Heaton, spokesperson for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.
Once the website became overwhelmed, the local health department sought the help from the state to set up a temporary sign-up page.
"It's very frustrating," said Washington County resident Marsha Rogers. "This is just so unfair to those other people who are not technology savvy."
Once the temporary page got up and running, all remaining vaccine appointments through the end of January were quickly reserved.
Appointments for February won't be released until next week, the health department said.
"We receive limited amounts of vaccine every week and are able to schedule every dose, but those slots go quickly," Heaton's statement continued. "We ask for your patience as you check our website again next week for February openings. It will take many weeks to schedule and serve this age group."
A link to the reservation system somehow got shared over the weekend, allowing some to register early, Heaton said.
The Southwest Utah Public Health Department said it will move its entire website, swuhealth.org, to state servers on Wednesday so that it can handle increased traffic in the future.
For those without internet access, the health department will start taking phone vaccine reservations next week at 435-986-2549.
A vaccination clinic for Tuesday and Thursday of this week at the St. George Regional Hospital also quickly filled up after it was announced Monday afternoon.