All online appointments at the Allegheny County Health Department’s vaccination site in Castle Shannon were booked within ten minutes of online registration going live Saturday morning. According to the county, the volume of visitors to the website caused it to crash temporarily.
*This story was updated at 12:36 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 to say that all of the appointments were taken.
According to the health department, only individuals 65 years and older are eligible to receive vaccines at the site.
The county will still book appointments by phone starting Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 9 a.m., via 211. These appointments are reserved specifically for eligible residents who do not have internet access.
The county announced Friday evening that it would open the Castle Shannon site next week. The Castle Shannon Fire Department Banquet Hall will serve as the Health Department’s second community vaccination site, in addition to the one at the Monroeville DoubleTree hotel.
Members of the Allegheny County Emergency Services will administer the Moderna vaccine at the Castle Shannon location.
A county spokesperson said Saturday afternoon that phones at the fire department were "ringing off the hook with people calling the location seeking appointments. There are no appointments available in that way and the volunteers at the station cannot assist." The site also will not accept walk-ups; individuals must have an appointment to be vaccinated.
The county said additional appointments will open up when more vaccine supply is available; the health department has received about 11% of the total vaccine doses shipped to providers in Allegheny County.
Earlier on Friday, the Pennsylvania Health Department ordered vaccine providers to speed up the vaccine rollout, including administering at least 80% of their allotments of first doses of vaccines within a week of receiving them.