Georgia charged ahead with its vaccination rollout on Monday, entering Phase 1a+; but the day was met with registration challenges.

The new group eligible to receive the vaccine include people 65 and older and first responders.

“I’ve been waiting a long time,” said one woman who was able to secure an appointment.

However, many seniors told CBS46 they had to deal with crashing websites, online delays and overbooked appointments. In Fulton County, a scheduling glitch lead to overbookings, prompting officials to open an additional site to administer the vaccine. In Dekalb County, the Board of Health halted registration through, at least Saturday, because of high demand.

“After receiving over 13,000 registrations as of 10pm Friday night, we paused any further registration,” said Eric Nickens, spokesperson for the health department.

“Once we have enough vaccine on hand to address the registrations that we’ve received, then and only then will we resume acceptance.”

Meanwhile people trying to make online appointments in Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale were met with error message and/or long lag times. A spokesperson for Cobb-Douglas Public Health told CBS46 their website, which is different from the health department’s site, was down to a “server issue.”

“We’re working with our website provider to increase more traffic bandwidth that should alleviate some of these congestion issues,” added Chad Wasdin, spokesperson for Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health.

Dr. Cecile Bennett with Newnan Family Medicine Associates called the problems “unfortunate but predictable.”

He said instead of putting the burden on health departments, the state should include more primary care providers in the rollout.  

“Given the background we have with our patients, we know who’s over 65,” said Dr. Bennett. “We can easily contact them. We know who has comorbid conditions. We can easily contact them. As patients come in every day, we can vaccinate as needed.”

Dr. Bennett believes if primary care providers could administer the vaccine, more Georgians could be inoculated sooner.

“Our patients have our telephone numbers,” said Dr. Bennett. “They’re asking us every day, ‘When are you going to get the vaccine?’ Multiply my office by 3,000 other offices across Georgia and within weeks the entire state could be touched from vaccinations from primary care physicians.”

Many appointment slots have already been claimed for this week. Health professionals are asking for patience as more vaccines become available. 

For details on how to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, click here.

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