Arlington County officials say names of people pre-registered to receive a coronavirus vaccine are still migrating into the state’s new Vaccinate Virginia system.
It has been more than one week since Arlington County shut down its pre-registration platform to send 41,000 names to the Virginia Department of Health’s new statewide platform. The delay means that for now, some pre-registered individuals may not see their registration status. But that does not mean the pre-registrations have gone missing, county spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell said in an email.
“At no time were any lists ‘lost,'” O’Donnell said. “All data still exists, and the County is in the process of rolling out vaccine scheduling notification to residents 65+.”
This applies to about 10,000 pre-registered individuals 65 and older, she said.
Many pre-registrations have not merged due to formatting problems, state health department spokesperson Logan Anderson said. For example, some data fields were case sensitive, which he said has been addressed.
“Data cleanup is an ongoing process, and they may show up in the system,” he said. “There were also 1.6 million entries transferred in total. After cleanup and de-duplication, that number dropped to about 1.2 million.”
Arlington County shut down its pre-registration system at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12 to start sending its names to VDH, O’Donnell said.
“As we’ve seen, that migration process is taking longer than anticipated, and we are in constant communication with VDH about the migration,” she said.
She said county officials are hearing that one feature of the state system in particular, called “Check the List,” is not working for many lookups.
“This is not an indication that these people are not in the system,” she said. “Many actually are, but the checking the list feature is still experiencing difficulties.”
While some ARLnow readers report that their registration has yet to transfer, others say their problems last week were resolved, or that they re-registered.
One woman who could not find her three family members’ statuses last week told ARLnow that “all three family members registered as 1B with Arlington in mid-January now appear with VDH as ‘This user is registered.'”
Another woman who spoke with ARLnow last week confirmed that after she and her husband decided to re-register.
“Since then we show up in the system, but we have no real way of knowing whether our original Jan. 9 registration with Arlington County is part of the consolidated list, or whether we moved to the back of the line,” she said.
The Commonwealth is encouraging people to re-register online or call the Vaccinate Virginia call center at (877) VAX-IN-VA, Anderson said.
During a County Board work session last week, Board Member Christian Dorsey said the system’s issues are basic and should have been tested before the launch.
“It’s creating a really huge burden on the local districts to basically provide customer service and complaint feedback on the state’s site,” Dorsey said. “This is an implicit unfunded mandate to fix through customer service and other forms a state-mandated issue.”
Arlington Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese said he and his colleagues across the state have been giving the state “more than an earful about the impact that this has been having.”
“It should have been working from the minute that it opened up,” he said.
Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said the county will continue to work with people worried about their status.
“If you’re pre-registered, take some days and up to a week before you do anything — take a breath,” de Ferranti said. “We have a committed staff and we will reach out.”
Meanwhile, Arlington County continues to vaccinate eligible people, although it had to dip into vaccine reserves due to the winter storm, which delayed vaccine shipments throughout Virginia.
As of today (Tuesday), 31,553 vaccines have been administered in the county and 10,157 people are fully vaccinated, according to VDH. As of Friday, Arlington County had received about 20,000 doses of vaccine and used nearly 19,000.
The county reported exceeding its allotted second doses last week. O’Donnell said it dipped into first doses in anticipation of the bad weather and the delayed shipments.
“As we were facing potential shipping delays, it was important to us to ensure that everyone who had an existing appointment is able to obtain their vaccines,” she said, adding that these delays have since been resolved.
Photos (1 and 3) via Arlington County, (2) via Vaccinate Virginia