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Available COVID vaccine appointments snapped up fast in Portland

Frustration abounds from those attempting to sign-up, along with calls to not add 65-year-olds to the mix on March 1.

PORTLAND, Oregon — With 230,000 seniors eligible for COVID-19 shots but still without their first vaccination, competition for the 3,400 doses made available Thursday morning proved intense.

At the OHSU website for the drive-through clinic at Portland’s airport, 2,400 reservations were snapped up in just 10 minutes.

At the website for the clinic at the Oregon Convention Center, 500 appointments took 90 minutes to book.

Legacy spokesperson Brian Terrett said the fix designed to prevent the site from crashing malfunctioned and couldn't handle the rapid traffic increase right at 9 a.m.

"When that happened, it slowed the whole process down. As traffic eased, people were able to make appointments,” Terrett said.

Dozens of people reached out to describe the problems they ran into while trying to sign up for appointments on Thursday.

Jo Lavey tried to sign-up her husband as part of the 70 and older crowd.

“So, I didn’t even get as far as I did on Monday- so to me that was worse,” she said.

Lavey will become eligible for the vaccine Mon., March 1 along with 258,000 other Oregonians 65 and older.

But she thinks the Governor should pause the eligibility.

“I think about these people who are 80 plus who haven’t been able to get a vaccine and I think the more we add in these people, the harder it's going to get and it’s just a such a circus. I feel badly for the people who more desperately need it than I do actually,” she said.

ER doctor Andrew Harger agrees. His parents are both older than 75. He’s been trying to sign them up for two weeks. And like many others he found only frustration on the main vaccination scheduling sites for Portland Thursday morning.

“You know if the priority is getting people at the highest risk vaccinated- first, then it makes sense to me that we would them all or all the ones who are eligible scheduled and vaccinated before moving on,” Dr. Harger said.