Citizens wait for possible side effects after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine injections at an inoculaton center in Dongdaemun District, Seoul, Tuesday. Yonhap.
By Lee Hyo-jin Korea’s coronavirus vaccination reservation for people in their 50s is not running smoothly, with repeated crashes in the booking system frustrating the people, and delays in vaccine deliveries causing setbacks to the inoculation plan.According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), people aged between 50 and 59 will be administered with their first Moderna or Pfizer doses beginning later this month, but getting a spot through the online reservation website has not been easy for many in that age group.Online reservations for people aged 53 and 54, or those born in 1967 and 1968, opened from 8 p.m., Monday. But as soon as it opened, the server crashed due to high user demand. The KDCA resumed taking reservations after installing additional cloud servers at around 10 p.m., but many people still experienced connection delays. They had to sit in front of their computers for hours attempting to book vaccine shots. “I tried to make the reservation at 8 p.m. and my nephew also did so on my behalf, but we couldn’t get access. When we were able to get in, we were instantly booted out,” said a Seoul office worker surnamed Kim, 53, who tried to make an appointment.”I tried myself again at around 3 a.m., but got a message saying that it was postponed. My nephew tried again for me on Tuesday morning at 8:20 a.m., but it still didn’t work.”A Gyeonggi Province resident surnamed Yoo, 25, who made the appointment for her father, said, “I managed to make the reservation at around 1:30 a.m., after hours of waiting. I didn’t expect it to be this tough. I’m worried it will be much worse when the vaccination is expanded to younger age groups.”
This screenshot captured on Monday evening shows a notice on the COVID-19 vaccination reservation website that the user should wait approximately 35 minutes for a connection. Yonhap
This time was not the first that the country’s vaccine reservation system did not work properly. On July 12, reservations for people aged between 55 and 59 were temporarily suspended in less than a day, due to a lack of vaccines, when only 1.85 million out of the 3.52 million eligible recipients had made appointments.The KDCA apologized for causing confusion and resumed taking reservations from the evening of July 14. But even after the resumption, the connection was delayed for a few hours due to an unstable network. In order to resolve such issues, the health authorities split the age group between 50 and 54 into two, allowing people aged between 53 and 54 to reserve their vaccine shots beginning from 8 p.m. Monday, and those aged between 50 and 52 to reserve them the next day.In addition, due to an unstable vaccine supply, the government has decided to administer Pfizer shots to some people in their 50s, shifting from its initial plan to use the Moderna vaccine for this age group. “The supply from Moderna, which was scheduled to arrive in the third week of July, has been postponed to the last week of the month, due to quality inspection or delivery issues,” KDCA Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong said at a briefing, Monday. “Considering the flexible delivery schedules, we have decided to include the Pfizer vaccine in the vaccination rollout for people aged between 50 and 59.” Meanwhile, the KDCA reported 1,278 daily new COVID-19 cases, a record-high for a Monday, raising the country’s aggregate total of infections to 180,481.