New RI Vaccine Appointments Will Be Scarce This Week

by | Mar 15, 2021

The state Department of Health said Monday there will be new vaccine appointments starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday but with only 1,890 appointments for first vaccine shots available through the state site, demand is sure to far outstrip supply. This happened last Friday, when the vaccine website was flooded with millions (yes, millions) of hits, the vast majority to no avail. 

We have a limited number of first doses available this week because most of our vaccine this week is being used for second doses. However, there will be more availability next week,” said RIDOH spokesman Joseph Wendelken. 

He added that people should expect some changes on the vaccinateri.org website starting tomorrow, including:

  • There will be language on the page clarifying that some slots are not accessible because people are in the process of booking them.
  • Adjustments to allow the site to manage more traffic without causing people to experience error messages. (It got more than 2.5 million visits after 5 p.m. on Friday.)
  • They are developing a “waiting room” for vaccinateRI.org. This would address the issue of appointments appearing to be available, even though other people are in the process of booking them. This is a work in progress.

Wendelken said there won’t be a lot of first dose appointments available Friday either. 

“We will have more availability next week, when we have to do fewer second doses,” he said. In total, roughly 10,000 first dose slots are opening up this week at the pharmacies and through vaccinateRI.org. Next week, the number of first dose slots opening up for those same sites will be closer to 23,000. 

“We expect our vaccine supply to increase,” Wendelken said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.”

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