Digital registry queue also affects those wanting access to other actions

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A coronavirus vaccine at East Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

On Thursday, the option of booking time slots for vaccinations was opened for people aged 40 and above. High demand has caused the system to queue up more than 10,000 people with a waiting time of over an hour. The queue system however means that people wanting to enter the digital portal for other reasons cannot do so, either.

The Estonian Health and Welfare Information Systems Center (TEHIK) maintains the digital registry (Patient Portal). The center has stated that there is not much reason to increase investments to the servers, because high times, such as the vaccine queue or the first day of tax declaration filing, are not consistent.

There were more than 12,000 people queued up for a time slot around 11 a.m. Thursday and the waiting time was longer than an hour. TEHIK has currently established a 5,000-person visit limit.

"If this limit is full, the already logged in users can keep using the registry and new users can no longer log in. Limiting the number of simultaneous users is so that the environments would not crash. If the limit of simultaneous users is full, the users are displayed the notice and are asked to try again later. It is also possible to book vaccination times by calling healthcare establishments," said TEHIK spokesperson Karilin Engelbrecht.

In addition to booking time slots for vaccination, the digital registry also allows people to perform regular actions such as open medical documents or register of specialist appointments. Due to the stress on servers, TEHIK recommends patients book times by phone.

The display of the Patient Portal, as of 11.38 a.m., Thursday. Source: Screenshot

While vaccinations were opened for 40+ people on Thursday, they will be made available to everyone over the age of 16 from Monday.

Engelbrecht said it is likely that time slots for the next week are soon to be booked up. In case of that happening, TEHIK is planning to publish a notice that states that the option of registering for vaccination is closed in the digital registry.

Vaccination time slots in the digital registry will be opened based on how many vaccines arrive in Estonia. Time slots cannot be made available before vaccine shipments for the next week are confirmed. Otherwise, there is no guarantees for vaccine applicants. Concurrently, the state can also not order more vaccines and must await for shipments to arrive before offering additional time slots.

42,120 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are expected to arrive in the coming week, to go with 4,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 7,540 doses of the Jannsen vaccine. Following AstraZeneca vaccine shipments are still unconfirmed, shipments are scheduled to arrive until the end of June, as of the EU's contract with the vaccine manufacturer.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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