‘Can’t get in’: Seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

Coronavirus

Oregonians 70 and older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of Oregon seniors have faced serious hurdles when it comes to making COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

The missing 67,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine finally arrived this week in Oregon after winter storms delayed the shipment, the Oregon Health Authority said. But signing up for the vaccine has become an increasingly frustrating process.

A few thousand appointments opened at the Oregon Convention Center but were quickly booked. Technical problems with the state’s sign-up website have also contributed to mounting frustration.

Oregon is in Phase 1B of its vaccine distribution plan. Childcare providers and teachers were the first to be eligible under this phase. People 70 and older are part of Group 4. Group 5, which includes people 65 and older will be eligible starting March 1. Health officials said it may take until April to vaccine groups 1-5.

More than 200,000 people who are 70 and older became eligible for the vaccine on Monday while thousands of even older Oregonians who are still trying to make appointments have been bounced out of the online queue or told to start over.

“That shouldn’t be allowed, they should set it up where, okay, here’s your group, when most of you people have gotten your shots we’ll open it up to the next group and they’re not doing that,” complained 77-year-old Aurelia Phillips. “They’re just opening and getting flooded and people like me can’t get in.”

KOIN 6 News learned local pharmacies continue to receive more vaccine doses and appointments can become available at places like Walgreens. Other pharmacies at places like Albertson’s, Safeway and Costco are expected to receive more doses soon and some will be opening online sign-up portals starting Thursday.

For Oregon, check your eligibility here, and for Washington, check here. Call 211 if you have more questions. You can also contact your doctor – however, hospitals have asked not to call them about vaccine eligibility.

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