More than 11,000 people in the 30- to 39-year-old age group have rushed to book their Pfizer vaccinations, overwhelming the ACT Health booking system before 8am despite registering two weeks in advance.
The ACT government will start allocating vaccinations to the next age group from Tuesday morning after opening eligibility to accelerate the program.
The government had invited 30 to 39 year olds to pre-register for their jab two weeks ago in attempt to streamline the process and avoid lengthy delays for the booking system.
But some have reported being unable to book their appointment, despite responding to a message they received just hours after the age group became eligible.
Canberrans aged 30–39 years can now book in for their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at an ACT Government clinic. If you’ve already registered, you’ll receive an SMS to make a booking. If not, you can make a booking online at https://t.co/wT6giHNXeg or over the phone on 5124 7700. pic.twitter.com/es9NpP8axU— Andrew Barr MLA (@ABarrMLA) August 2, 2021
One ACT resident said he received a text message inviting him to book at 7.21am and was told the queue was full at 7.36am.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said all booking allocations had been exhausted until at least mid September. Earlier bookings may become available if vaccine supply increases.
"To help you book, we limit the number of people who can book appointments at the same time. The queue is full. Check back later," ACT government wrote.
Thirty somethings reported demand being so high on Tuesday that the first available appointment was pushed weeks back with just a few minutes hesitation.
"I was clicking on appointments and they became unavailable if I didn't confirm quickly enough," one 31-year-old shared to social media.
"Pretty awesome to see Canberra folk jump on this like Taylor Swift is in town."
Most young people who reached out to The Canberra Times reported they had been able to get their first shot in September, after multiple attempts to book online.
The government's booking system has struggled to cope with demand when opening up to different age groups, with almost every stage reporting problems.
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ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen Smith said it was always busy when bookings opened up to a new cohort and that's why people had been encouraged to register early.
"So we made that announcement a couple of weeks ago that people should get on to My DHR, tick that box and log into DHR and make that appointment," she said on ABC Canberra.
"Those people, I think, have probably been able to do that, the system is set up to manage that demand if people aren't able to, please just be patient and come back in a little while."
More than 20,000 ACT residents aged 30 to 39 have registered for an appointment with the online MyDHR system, a process that was opened up two weeks ago.
There are 70,000 people in the ACT's 30- to 39-year-old cohort, but some 16,000 have received their first dose in earlier vaccine rollout phases.
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