Some Scripps patients face problems signing up for COVID-19 Vaccine appointments

Scripps patients unable to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine appointment.png
Posted at 5:33 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 14:30:05-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Scripps Health Systems began administering COVID-19 shots at their clinics to their patients earlier this week. But many people said they are having problems signing up for an appointment.

Thousands of people took advantage of the first week of the 65 and over COVID-19 vaccine availability at Scripps Health Systems.

"The rollout went very well," Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, Chief Medical Officer for Acute Care at Scripps Health, said. "We only had 6,800 doses initially, and we have over 150,000 patients who are over age 65."

But many patients said those were the lucky few. Earlier in the week, Scripps first contacted 80,000 patients who have a primary care physician through their "My Scripps" app, urging people to make a vaccine appointment. But many said by the time they logged on, filled out the forms and clicked 'send,' it was too late.

"We had, at one point, 9,000 patients trying to access the app at the same time for less than 6800 doses," Dr. Sharieff said. "So you can imagine what that does to the system."

Others said they were not contacted at all. Bridget Myhro said she sees a specialist, not a primary care physician, and her 90-year-old mother did not even know about it.

"Mom, who has a jitterbug phone, she's not going to get the app to go to Scripps," Myhro said.

So she tried the County's online appointment booking system but faced the same problems.

"By the time I got there and the appointment times came up, it said not available, not available, not available," Myhro said.

Scripps said it uses the app exclusively to make appointments to keep track of vaccinations, which is required by the County and State. Dr. Sharieff said their I.T. team is now working to upgrade the system so that once the patient starts their appointment process, they will know immediately if there is an open slot, instead of waiting until the final step. As soon they get their next allotment of shots, Dr. Sharieff said they would open up registration to more of their 65 and over patients.

"I would ask for a little bit of patience," Dr. Sharieff said. "Let us know what glitches you are having, and our information services team can work on it. As fast as we're getting it, I promise you we are getting it to our patients."

Scripps said it just received another batch of vaccines from the County. By the end of the weekend, they should be able to administer 11,000 doses. For those who do not have access to the app, Dr. Sharieff suggested going through the County or local pharmacy to get the vaccine.