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National helpline 1247 down for three hours Tuesday afternoon

Emergency Response Center
Emergency Response Center Source: ERR

1247, the national phone helpline, was hit by a technical issue Tuesday which put it out of action for around three hours. While the line was recently repurposed as a non-emergency, general assistance line, since this includes coronavirus information, it was under heavy use following the opening of vaccine bookings to the general populace from Monday evening.

The issue concerned the 1247 phone line interface with the digital vaccine registry system, itself linked to the national Patient Portal.

Karilin Engelbrecht, spokesperson from the social affairs ministry's IT department, told ERR Tuesday that: "The call center tried to start its service today, but the interface caused system error messages and we decided to hat it. The digital registry was not affected by this error and everyone can make reservations there."

However, as noted the digital vaccine booking system was also subject to lengthy waits, sometimes measurable in hours, due to the high demand for vaccine bookings. This also locked out those with non-coronavirus medical issues who were trying to make appointments.

The 1247 phone line was back online around 4.30 p.m. Tuesday, Gea Otsa, a social affairs ministry spokesperson from the vaccination working group, told ERR.

1247 began its life at the start of the pandemic as a coronavirus-only info channel, but at the start of this year became the go-to line for other areas such as environmental concerns, traffic concerns, issues with larger roadkill.

The call center was seeking more volunteers earlier on this year.

ERR News tested the non-coronavirus option on the line successfully, and with no wait times, at the time of writing. The operator reported that English is spoken in addition to Estonian and Russian.

The national digital patient portal was showing a wait time of around 26 minutes at the time of writing.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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