Georgia seniors struggle to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine online

After Georgia hit another record-setting day for COVID-19 deaths, problems continue to plague the state's rollout of the vaccine.

Sylvia Hennessy, 77, of Sandy Springs, said it took multiple attempts on the phone and online to get her and her 81-year-old husband signed up.

"The big black box [on the website] says, 'sorry, there are no available shots right now,'" she said. When she eventually got through and began filling out the paperwork, she said the site crashed a few minutes in and she lost their spot altogether. She said she had to go back to Fulton County's website times until she eventually got lucky and was able to book her and her husband's appointments Saturday morning.

"It was just total happenstance that I saw," she said. "I am very thankful to the good Lord up above."

However, she worries for seniors and other vulnerable populations who aren't as tech-savvy - or don't have access to the internet at all. She wants to see more outreach to assure those people are not forgotten about.

"I found the list, but how many people, 70, 80, 90 can do that?" she questioned. "I really am concerned. I know people are working hard, but it seems to me there needs to be better communication."

Although =vaccination sites have opened at Kroger, Publix, and Ingles Pharmacies, appointments can be just as tricky to get on their websites as well.

Glen Nowak, who leads the University of Georgia's Center for Health and Risk Communication, agreed communication needs to be improved but added that there's a learning curve involved.

"The best thing you can do is to be persistent or you need to keep doing those efforts," Nowak said. "But also recognize that the situation should be improving, it should be getting better every single week as more COVID vaccines are produced and more vaccines are distributed."

A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Health said they hope to launch a statewide scheduling website in the next few weeks in hopes of creating a more streamlined system.

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