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Christ says high demand could slow COVID-19 vaccine registration system

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

PHOENIX — Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said that high demand could slow the state’s online COVID-19 vaccine registration system Wednesday morning when eligibility expands to all adults.

“It’s going to depend … if one million people try to hit the website at the same time, it may cause some slowness and some inability to get in,” Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

Starting Wednesday at 8 a.m., anybody 16 and older will be eligible to register for an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site. For other points of dispensing in Maricopa County, the age cutoff is dropping to 16 for Pfizer vaccines and 18 for Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots.

Christ and Gov. Doug Ducey apologized to residents two weeks ago on a telephone town hall for registration woes in the early parts of the vaccine rollout.

Christ said Tuesday maintenance to the state’s sign-up site has better prepared it for large amounts of users.

Wednesday morning’s age drop could bring in high numbers because of the open availability.

“We’ve made a lot of enhancements to the website. It’s operating better. We’ve optimized our servers,” Christ said.

Those who don’t want to worry about website sign up can call the state’s call center and book an appointment.

The call center can be reached at 844-542-8201 and offers help in English and Spanish.

“Our call center opens up at 8 a.m. and you can always call to talk to a live person if you’re not comfortable or you don’t want to use a computer,” Christ said.

If you can’t get through in time to snag an appointment Wednesday, the state releases new batches every Friday morning.

ADHS said approximately 34,000 previously released appointments were still open as of Tuesday morning, 21,700 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, 9,700 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, 1,900 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and 1,200 at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Another 80,000 spots will be released at 11 a.m. Friday spread across the four existing state-run sites and a new one in Yuma.

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