Website to register for COVID-19 vaccines operational after crashing Sunday

Vicky Camarillo
Corpus Christi Caller Times

Officials said they expected Corpus Christi and Nueces County’s registration website for COVID-19 vaccines to run smoothly on Monday after it crashed the previous evening.

The Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District received 4,000 Moderna vaccines on Monday and kicked off a “mega” vaccination drive-thru hub at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds that will continue through Thursday. Officials planned to vaccinate at least 500 people on Monday, with 250 spots going to people who pre-registered online starting at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Corpus Christi Ð Nueces County Public Health District hosts a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination event for residents part of Phase 1A Tier 1 or 2 and residents 65 and older on at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020.

About 300,000 people accessed the site between 5 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni said, adding that the number was greater than officials had anticipated. The health district’s vaccine hub is serving residents of Nueces County and surrounding counties.

Multiple residents said on social media and in messages to the Caller-Times that they were unable to access the website and encountered error messages — even, in some cases, when they tried for hours and on different devices.

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said 250 people were able to register, though the website was down for 30 to 45 minutes. 

She said the problem was not with Luminare, the software that is being used for vaccine registration, but with the host of the city’s website. Luminare has been stress-tested with 18,000 users every four seconds, she said.

Zanoni said the city has purchased additional bandwidth and access sites to accommodate the number of visitors.

“We were able to fix it so quickly, but unfortunately, we didn’t detect it until massive amounts of users logged on at the same time,” Canales said. “It should be ready to roll properly today at 5 p.m.”

Canales said officials are discussing other options to make pre-registering easier, such as allowing people to choose which date they get vaccinated or assigning people to groups that would be vaccinated at staggered times.

“At some point, we’ll have more and more vaccine, and so the registration will be easier and easier,” Canales said. “It’s a supply of vaccine issue, not a registration issue. There was a glitch yesterday, but that is remedied and fixed.”

Roger Jones, a 54-year-old nurse, headed to the fairgrounds around 11 a.m. Monday to register for a vaccine after struggling with the website on Sunday.

He said the website repeatedly showed a gateway error, but close to 6 p.m., he was able to access the registration form and complete a couple of pages of questions. But when he tried to select the date to receive his vaccine from a drop-down menu, the date was locked on Sunday. After a couple of tries, he was booted from the website.

Health care workers at hospitals were among those prioritized in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution. As a dialysis clinic nurse, Jones was not among those — though he works with immunocompromised patients, many of whom have tested positive for COVID-19, he said.

“No doubt in my mind, they could have done that pre-registration a whole different way,” Jones said during a phone interview while he waited for his vaccine. “They could have done it in person and online yesterday. They could have probably filled up all the spots that they had.”

Pre-registration will open at 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The link is available at cctexas.com/coronavirus.

Each day, 500 people can register on site on a first-come, first-served basis.

Staff writer Kirsten Crow contributed to this report.

Vicky Camarillo covers Nueces County and statewide issues. See our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe.

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