Confusion over COVID-19 vaccine websites cause frustration for seniors

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- There is no shortage of people wanting a COVID-19 vaccine, but getting one can be like taking a shot in the dark.

"It has been very, very frustrating. So I have just been trying to be patient, but I really worry about the other people who are of my age and older who aren't as savvy on the internet," said Riverside resident Diane Kwasman.

Kwasman is 67 years old and qualifies for the vaccine under Riverside County's expanded tier to include those 65-years and older. But like many she was unable to get a vaccine scheduled. Shortly after the county opened up appointments online all 5,600 slots were taken.

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On Thursday, San Bernardino County also opened vaccine appointments to its senior population. The process has been confusing and frustrating for many due to the need to enter information and answer a questionnaire before learning there are no appointments available. County officials say its the state that operates the appointment site.

"We know that people had issues trying as they get to the end they have to start over again so hopefully the state rectifies the appointment system," said San Bernardino County Deputy Public Spokesperson Felisa Cordona.

Riverside County changed its site to address the confusion by putting the availability of vaccine appointments upfront on the website. Officials for both Inland Empire counties say an overwhelming number of people wanting a vaccine have flooded their websites and hotlines. They are working to streamline the process as more vaccines become available.

"We are obviously lobbying the state for every dose we can get. As soon as that comes in or as soon as we do know how much we're going to have we have plans in place to expand that access," said Cordona.

The hotline for San Bernardino County COVID-19 vaccines is 909-387-3911. In Riverside County, the number is 2-1-1.
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