Harris Co. COVID-19 vaccine waitlist operating again after earlier error

Courtney Fischer Image
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Within half an hour of launching for all county residents, some users were met with a dreaded error message earlier Tuesday.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County's COVID-19 vaccine registration site was operating normally Tuesday afternoon after users attempting to get on the waitlist were met with error messages.

Within half an hour of launching for all Harris County residents, some users to the COVID-19 vaccine waitlist, which was touted to be more streamlined, got this error: "Site is under maintenance."

The county launched the new registration system at noon, hoping to simplify a process that has proven to be difficult across the country. Multiple attempts through browsers like Safari and Chrome showed the error message.

The site should be accessible through the Ready Harris website.

The county earlier acknowledged the immediate difficulties registering.

"If you see an error message, our site is temporarily down due to technical difficulties," the county tweeted, though, no specific reason was given for the error. "We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience."

While the waitlist site had a bumpy launch, County Judge Lina Hidalgo said more than 49,200 people signed up on day one through late in the afternoon.

Before the launch, the county offered a hotline for those without internet access, but that line was also down.

By 5 p.m., the phone line closed for the evening, but the online portal remained open for registration.

Just the day before, County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the reason for the waitlist is so people who are high-priority don't get overlooked, and so the entire process can go smoother than the typical registration process.

She said getting the vaccine shouldn't be like the "Hunger Games." It shouldn't be who is quickest to sign up. Everyone should have a fair shot at getting the vaccine, Hidalgo said.

WATCH: Getting vaccine shouldn't be like 'The Hunger Games,' judge says

Even though anyone can register, there is priority as to who gets the shot first.

Right now, people in group 1A or 1B are eligible for the shot. Anyone can pre-register, but only people in those groups are going to get appointments for now.

RELATED: Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo announces new COVID-19 vaccine waitlist

Group 1A includes healthcare workers and nursing home residents. 1B includes people 65 years old and older, and those 16 and older with a medical condition, including things like pregnancy, cancer or diabetes.

After you sign up, you'll be chosen at random to get vaccinated.

"It shouldn't be about who can hit refresh on a browser the fastest. It shouldn't be about who has special knowledge about when exactly a registration link will open," Hidalgo said. "It shouldn't be about who has the time to sit there checking all day, while those who work long hours are put at a disadvantage. That's why, in everything we do to fight COVID-19, we are pushing for not only efficiency, but also fairness and equity."

If you're not in group 1A or 1B, you can still sign up. You'll get an appointment when eligibility expands.

SEE ALSO: County-by-county breakdown on COVID-19 vaccine distributions

Get your questions answered about the COVID-19 vaccine by joining our two-night Action 13 town hall streaming live this week.

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