COVID19: Vaccination portal embarrassingly crashes again

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Cyprus’ vaccination portal crashed for a second time in a week soon after going live on Thursday to offer nearly 10,000 appointments for those aged 61-63.

It took the Deputy Innovation Ministry three hours to admit a technical glitch but said the portal should operate as usual at 2.30 pm.

“The vaccination portal for COVID-19 is temporarily disabled due to systems overload resulting from multiple users simultaneously selecting the same appointment at the same vaccination centre for the same beneficiary,” said a ministry statement.

The Financial Mirror contacted the ministry, but no one was available to take the calls.

Last week the system failed again, due to the high numbers of people trying to book an appointment at once.

Although the system can cater for up to 35,000, the number of users was several times higher than the 26,000 beneficiaries between the ages 61 and 63 entitled to book a vaccine, officials said.

The online portal opened for people aged 61 to 63, who could not book an appointment or opted not to do so when their turn came.

They could miss out again after the portal crashing left their time window narrowing.

Ironically, the system crashed last week when those aged 61 or over tried to book a COVID-19 jab.

Innovation Minister Kyriacos Kokkinos attributed the incident to high traffic.

He said that the system had to cope with some 365 appointments per second before going down.

Last Wednesday, technicians at the ministry were only able to get the portal up and running nine hours after it crashed.

Kokkinos confidently announced the portal had been updated and could now handle up to 35,000 users at once; Thursday’s blip undid that theory.

Appointments made available on Thursday amounted to 9,707.

The online disaster is attributed to Cypriots rushing to book an appointment for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, shunning AstraZeneca’s jab after links to very rare blood clotting incidents.