Mass General Brigham, Tufts Medical Center COVID-19 vaccine signup systems crash from heavy traffic 

Mass General Brigham administrators shut down the Boston-based health system's online signup system for COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 16 after a massive influx of employees overwhelmed the website causing it to crash, The Boston Globe reports. 

Mass General Brigham notified its nearly 80,000 employees about the tech issues with its online signup system just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 16 and shut down the website to figure out what was causing the problem, Mass General Brigham Incident Commander Ann Prestipino told the publication, adding that the issue was compounded "as multiple people tried to enter and reenter to get in." 

Technicians were able to fix the issue, but to ensure the website didn't crash again, they brought it back online in four waves during the day on Dec. 17, with employees at only certain hospitals able to access the online portal at a time. 

A Brigham and Women's Hospital physician, who requested anonymity, told the Globe in an email Dec. 16 that "for the nurses and respiratory therapists working tonight, to be denied that access, to have that feeling of waiting for an online system to reboot and then fail, it brought people back to those early feelings of not knowing whether they would have enough PPE, the feeling of not being protected by an institution." 

Boston-based Tufts Medical Center also experienced tech issues with its vaccine rollout; a large number of its COVID-19 facing staff crashed the hospital's server used to screen eligibility and schedule appointments on Dec. 15. The issues continued several hours into the evening Dec. 15, but the system was back up and running by Dec. 17, Tufts Medical Center CMO Saul Weingart, MD, told the publication. 

"The [online signup] system is now working well, but slowly, and we have a team working in the background to help facilitate appointments for high risk employees and those who need assistance enrolling,” he said.


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