Tech issues limiting COVID-19 vaccine sign-ups for rural, senior Michigan residents

Some rural residents and senior citizens in Michigan are having technical difficulties, such as poor internet connections, when trying to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments online, according to a Jan. 21 Lansing State Journal report. 

County health departments and hospitals across the state are asking people to schedule their appointments via their websites, but some people have been unable to get through online and are having trouble scheduling appointments by phone. 

Barbara Lance, a 73-year-old resident of Eaton Rapids, Mich., told the publication she tried signing up for the vaccine via Sparrow Hospital's website, but couldn't pull up the webpage on her old iPad. She also tried signing up via the Barry-Eaton District Health Department's website, but the date displayed for an appointment was for January 2023. Ms. Lance called for assistance but has not heard back, according to the report. 

"They need to come up with a better plan for people," Ms. Lance said. "You used to be able to go to the library to get on the internet, but the library is closed, and you can’t use it."

Richard Duranczyk, a 71-year-old resident of Ingham County, does not have internet access. Mr. Duranczyk, who has a disability, told his friends he wanted to get vaccinated, so they tracked down a phone number at the Ingham County Health Department for him to call. He's still waiting for a return call from the department to set up his appointment. 

"Their message on the vaccination was to get online to get an appointment. I’m not online," he said. "They’re giving me an extension to press for those who cannot get online, and I left a message last week that I’d like to have an appointment set up."

Sparrow Hospital and local health departments officials said they  know there are technical issues with online sign-ups and have created teams of staffers who collect information from voicemails and make  appointments on callers' behalf. 


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