DC’s Covid vaccine Web site nightmare

I need a drink.

Today was my first day eligible to sign up for a Covid vaccination in DC, and it was an utter fiasco. The DC government Web site melted down, and the phone number for setting up an appointment offline gave a Verizon error message. So no vaccine for me!

Subscribe now

This isn’t a new problem. DC’s Web site has been having problems for at least a month. A friend of mine went online almost exactly four weeks ago to reserve a vaccination for an elderly neighbor. She was thwarted by a never-ending Captcha error. The same Captcha error doomed my effort to secure a vaccine today as well.

DC’s Coronavirus Web site Captcha requirement — I entered the correct information above, but it claimed I didn’t, again and again and again.

Captcha is used to stop bots from grabbing all the concert tickets, or in this case, vaccine slots, and reselling/redistributing them. But how would that work exactly with Covid? When you sign up for a vaccine, you have to give your real name and real address. No bot can provide that. If you show up to get the vaccine, and you’re not the person who registered, you don’t get a vaccine. So why is DC using Captcha at all?

Also, it simply doesn’t work. On the DC site, every time I’d enter the correct Captcha, it would take a minute or two to send the information — the entire site immediately ground to a crawl the moment registration opened at 9am ET — and then it would tell me the Captcha information I entered was wrong. Just a guess, but by the time the site got to sending my Captcha information, Captcha had already timed out and provided me a NEW code to enter. But it was too late to enter the new code, and the site was locked in the process of sending the old code that I had already typed.

What resulted was this example below that I copied live. I entered the correct code — bV7gB5J — but as the page was “processing” my submission of that Captcha information, suddenly a new Captcha popped up, hsXZ2yx. And then I’d get an error that my Captcha was wrong.

Here’s the original Captcha, and my correct entry:

I clicked “next,” waited a long time, and here’s what popped up as I was waiting — an entirely new Captcha!

I finally got a message saying I’d entered the wrong Captcha, when I obviously didn’t. (It’s always good to keep receipts.)

This went on for a good 10 to 15 minutes — me entering the correct Captcha, it telling me I didn’t — until I figured out what had to be the problem — the slow Captcha submission, caused by the slowed Web site, kept permitting Captcha to change the code before my data was submitted — and once it was finally submitted, it was by now the wrong Captcha code. So the next time, I typed the Captcha as quickly as I could, and it finally worked.

Mind you, the entire Web site crawled to a near halt the second registration opened. It took a good minute or two for each page to come up after you clicked the “next” button. It never got better until all the vaccines were taken for. (Oh yeah, the site also gives you about six vaccine locations near you(ish) that are taking reservations, but none of them actually have reservations — and the process of clicking through each location, simply to then find out they have no slots, also was ground a near halt, further slowing you down.)

READ MORE —> —> You can read the rest of my story here, thanks.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

Share This Post

© 2021 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS