New Hampshire’s new COVID-19 vaccination scheduling website struggled under heavy demand Monday as residents aged 50 to 64 in the state attempted to schedule their vaccines.
The Vaccination and Immunization Network Interface, or VINI, launched last week, successfully processing 6,700 applications for individuals in Phase 2A, including teachers and childcare staff.
But Monday posed the first real test of the site, as an estimated 200,000 residents newly eligible in Phase 2B began attempting to register for shots at 8 a.m. Monday.
Early users of the website reported widespread technical issues, delays and error messages on VINI.
“This is so frustrating!" Roxanne Galica of Peterborough told NHPR. "I know they're working hard on solving the problem, but I was under the impression that they had done maintenance on the site in preparation for the 2B roll out. So why isn't it working as it should?”
The state acknowledged the technical issues, posting a message on vaccines.nh.gov apologizing for the delays.
“An unprecedented volume of web traffic was experienced this morning, a good sign that Granite Staters are ready and eager to receive their vaccine, which did cause some to experience delays,” said Gov. Chris Sununu in a statement. By 5 p.m., the state reported that nearly 75,000 residents had successfully booked appointments, despite the early technical issues.
On social media Monday morning, many Granite Staters expressed frustration or confusion over their efforts to register.
“All I can think is ‘God bless the IT team.’ Wouldn't want to be in their shoes right now,” tweeted Ellen Kolb, who also faced technical issues as she attempted to register for an appointment.
By the afternoon, more residents were able to successfully complete the process, including Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, who tweeted “After some troubles this morning, my first vaccine appointment is booked!”
The state’s COVID-19 hotline was also swamped Monday, with multiple residents telling NHPR they were unable to get through to schedule an appointment.
“Just one of those things you have to keep doing, over and over again, like getting Rolling Stones tickets, although that’s easier because you just hit redial,” said Cheryl Emerson of Milford, who successfully booked a slot after hours online.
VINI replaced the federally-run VAMS scheduling system, a wonky site that proved frustrating for residents aged 65 and up. Along with a streamlined user interface, VINI also is designed to allow residents to search for appointments without having to cancel their existing appointment.
(Editor’s note: this story was last updated at 5:00pm.)