ATLANTA — The top health official in Fulton County is apologizing for a computer glitch that led to mass confusion on Tuesday among residents trying to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Several Channel 2 Action News viewers called us saying they booked their appointments on the county’s website without any issues. In fact, they got their confirmation with the time and location, but it’s what happened while they were sleeping that not only caused confusion but also resulted in a missed opportunity for people in need of the vaccine.
“We were truly the happiest we had been since last March,” said retired Fulton County high school teacher Walter Kolesky.
That was the emotion he said he felt as he and his wife Debra Kolesky booked an appointment at the North Point vaccination site in Fulton County.
“I felt like we had gotten a gold medal in the Olympics,” he said.
But he told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden that their happiness soon turned to confusion after Walter Kolesky’s wife received an unexpected email in the middle of the night.
“She had gotten an email from Fulton County Board of Health that they were moving her to Aviation Boulevard Cultural Center. But I didn’t get the email and, coming at 3 a.m., I thought it was a scam,” he said.
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It turns out the email was sent to hundreds of people after officials with the Fulton County Board of Health discovered a massive glitch in the appointment scheduling system on its website.
“It had allowed three times the number of people to sign up for an appointment,” said Dr. Lynn Paxton, who is in charge of the county’s health department. “The computer glitch had scheduled all of them to arrive at the same time. So literally, hundreds of people all scheduled for the same time slot.”
Paxton said she and her staff jumped into action, sending out emails and moving staff to other vaccination sites, such as Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“We are mortified and apologetic that this happened,” Paxton said.
Still, despite the mass confusion, Fulton County found a way to deliver.
“We were overbooked at all three sites, but we were able to process everybody through,” Paxton said.
Walter Kolesky told Seiden that despite the glitch, he was pleased with his experience. But he hopes the state finds a way to pick up the pace.
“I found it to be very efficient, well run, but it still bothered me that only 250 people getting vaccinated yesterday,” Kolesky said.
Fulton County stated it is still working on fixing the glitch, so the best thing to do is to continue to check back online. Alternatively, you can reach out to the county’s call center, and it can book an appointment for you.
As of Tuesday tonight, there is no availability for the rest of this week.
The county is also reaching out to anyone who scheduled an appointment but didn’t receive the vaccine because of the glitch.
The county told Seiden that as soon as it contacts you, it will work with you to find a time to rebook your appointment.