Overwhelming demand from young people in Victoria seeking to secure a Pfizer vaccine has caused the state-run vaccine booking website to crash and the booking phone line busy.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced this week that 450,000 Pfizer spots would open to people aged 16-39 from Wednesday morning. That number was revised up to 830,000 appointment spots once additional Pfizer doses were allocated from the federal government reserves.
The Guardian reports that once the system opened up to younger people in the state, the online booking portal was inundated with 50,000 hits per minute and the call centre fielded approximately 1.3 million calls.
Prior to the online system opening at 7am on Wednesday, people were waiting in a digital queue and then the suite crashed. In an effort to reclaim their spots in the line, people called the booking centre only to be disconnected or told to call back later.
As of 7am, 16 to 59 year olds became eligible for the Pfizer jab in Victoria. I opened the booking portal at 6:57 and was put in a queue due to “high demand”. Just shows the interest from young people to get vaccinated #COVID19Vic #pfizer @abcmelbourne pic.twitter.com/BEINIYEZ96
— Erin Cooper (@ErinCooper27) August 24, 2021
Victoria’s deputy secretary of COVID acknowledged that the booking system had slowed as a result of substantial pressure. She urged citizens to be patient.
“We have had an extraordinary response to the changes in eligibility that were made yesterday,” Naomi Bromley said.
“The system is managing extraordinary demand but people are getting through, and tens of thousands of Victorians are booking successfully.”
The latest COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria continues to be a source of ongoing concern for authorities with 45 new cases of community transmission reported on Wednesday, bringing the state total to 538. There are 36 COVID-19 positive patients in hospital, with 11 in ICU and nine patients on ventilators.
Victoria has set a vaccination goal of one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within five weeks. On Tuesday, 31,629 doses had been given to people across Victoria’s vaccination hubs, bringing the total doses administered by the state to over 2 million jabs. With the jabs administered by GPs and pharmacies in Victoria, about 4.5 million people in the state have received a shot.
This daily infographic provides the total number of vaccine doses administered in Australia 🇦🇺 as of 24 August 2021 📅
— Australian Government Department of Health (@healthgovau) August 25, 2021
Young people in NSW have also responded to calls to get vaccinated in reassuring numbers in the height of its worst COVID outbreak since the pandemic began. Tuesday’s figures in NSW climbed above 900 new cases of community transmission and the death of two more people – a woman in her 30s and a man in his 80s.