Memphis city leaders respond to COVID-19 website glitch

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A hiccup for the City of Memphis caused problems Friday for people trying to visit its COVID-19 website.

About a week after taking over coordinating vaccine distribution from the county, the City of Memphis ran into some roadblocks for people hoping to signup online Friday morning and calling their phone number.

 “When you get on a website and can’t get scheduled, or the appointments missed up, or you try to call for a live body or live voice to speak to, it’s frustrating,” said Memphis city councilman Frank Colvett.

For about three hours, many were greeted with a message on the City of Memphis COVID-19 website stating, “We are aware that there is an issue. Our IT department is working to resolving the problem.”

Councilman Martavius Jones says problems will happen.

“When we talk about technology, cellphones, computers at some point we’ll have these dysfunctions. I don’t think it was anybody’s intent,” Jones said.

The state department of health called on the city to take a larger role in the vaccination process after the state discovered a number of irregularities in the county health department’s vaccine distribution.

“It begins with Mayor Lee Harris, and goes down to Director Haushalter, who is no longer with us,” Colvett said. “It began with the distribution points, and that’s why the state asked us to intervene.”

“If you go back and look at Tuesday’s meeting where there was a resolution to chastise the county for its handling of things and I said, ‘Hey wait, let’s be careful because there’s nothing to say we won’t have some hiccups along the way,’” Jones said.

By 10 a.m., a tweet from the city came out saying the website was back up and their phoneline was working again.

“We didn’t create this distribution problem, but we are going to fix it,” Colvett said.

The City of Memphis told WREG the website is back to normal, and it was a temporary glitch.

“I know people are in a hurry to get back to their normal lives and we will get there. I just hope people will be patient,” Jones said.

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