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Ohioans encounter 'technical difficulties' at mass vaccination sites while scheduling second dose

Scheduling tied to Ohio Dept. of Health portal
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Posted at 4:26 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 18:11:23-04

CLEVELAND — According to the Ohio Department of Health vaccination dashboard, more than 3.3 million people in Ohio have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which amounts to 28% of the state population.

While scheduling a first appointment can cause headaches for some, News 5 has learned from several viewers that scheduling a second dose appointment isn’t always automatic at certain locations.

One viewer wrote how four days after receiving his first dose, he has not received an appointment for the second dose.

Ohio Department of Health Vaccine Scheduling Dashboard
An Ohio Department of Health Vaccine Scheduling Dashboard shows a first shot appointment at the Wolstein Center on March 30th, but no second dose appointment set.

“I fear that those of us that are encountering this issue will get pushed to the back of the line or miss our windows entirely,” he said.

A Facebook post by News 5 revealed more individuals dealing with the same issue, where they were told by a member of the National Guard that the Ohio Department of Health vaccine scheduling portal was not working at the time of their first vaccination shot, and to expect an email shortly confirming a second appointment, which has not arrived.

Several said they were verbally told a second dose appointment time when they received their first dose of the vaccine, but have not received any written confirmation.

Scheduling at the Wolstein Center is run by the Ohio Department of Health and its online portal https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/. The mass vaccination site at the Wolstein Center is operated by the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio National Guard and Ohio Emergency Management Agency, with support from Cleveland State University, FEMA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

News 5 first became aware of the issue starting to appear several days ago, long after the Wolstein Center opened on March 17. The FEMA mass vaccination site is slated to operate for eight weeks in total.

A spokesperson with the Ohio Department of Health said that “human or technical errors” through March 26 caused only 556 individuals in their system to not have a second dose appointment booked, which amounts to less than 1% of vaccines administered at the Wolstein Center.

“We are currently scheduling those second dose appointments electronically (auto-scheduling) and residents are in the process of being notified,” a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson went on to say that the Ohio Department of Health is currently collecting data to determine just how many people for the rest of March encountered this issue.

“The Ohio Department of Health’s vaccine team is manually cross-checking data from Wolstein first-dose appointments and second-dose schedules to ensure that everyone is signed up for their second dose,” she said. “If a situation is noted when someone may not have a second-dose appointment scheduled, the team is reaching out to those individuals using the contact information on file. If there are still questions or concerns about a second-dose appointment at the Wolstein Center, Ohioans should call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) for assistance.”

Over at the newly-opened mass vaccination site at Kent State University, the Portage County Health District shared issues involving the state’s scheduling portal.

A spokesperson with the Ohio Department of Health responded to the tweet, saying their technical team is currently executing automated phone calls and emails to those affected, and automatically scheduling them for second dose appointments.

“In this case, the same single-use access codes were distributed to multiple people to allow them to book their own second appointments, rather than personalized codes for each person being vaccinated,” a spokesperson said.