New vaccination “waiting room” app to be delayed

App made to prevent competition over vacant vaccination slots delayed in release.

(Source: TASR)

The public will no longer have to “compete” for free vaccination slots.

A new app that is supposed to serve as an online “waiting room” will reportedly launch no later than the end of this week. A new vaccination schedule should also be available come next Monday.

This comes after the Health Ministry promised to launch the app on Monday, March 15. The app was announced as a response to much criticism of the Health Ministry, which arose among the online competition for vacant vaccination slots.

National Health Information Centre (NHIC) director, Róber Suja, told SME that the delay was caused by over-booked vaccination slots.

No vacancies

According to Suja, launching the app with the earlier deadline would have been impractical for assigning vaccination slots. He reported that the delay is being used to check if the app would be able to function while simultaneously used by different users all over Slovakia.

“The app should launch in the following days, latest by the end of the week,” he added.

The aim of the digital waiting room is to prevent a “fight” over vaccination slots.

The new schedule will be aimed for now at four groups as decreed by the Health Ministry; it will be open for seniors over the age of 60 or people belonging to special categories, such as healthcare workers.

Jan Hargaš, a digitalisation advisor for the Investment Ministry, said that the app will inform applicants about their vaccination date no sooner than two days before the date.

“Slots will be assigned according to the current established criteria,” he commented.

No need to travel for vaccines

Vaccine applicants will be able to use the app to select their preferred spot to get vaccinated. According to Hargaš, this will eliminate the need to travel for vaccination. According to him, the app will handle traffic from 750,000 registrations per hour.

“The app is safe and functional,” he reassured.

Registering in the waiting room takes several steps. First, the applicant will pick which eligible group for vaccination they belong to. The, they will enter their personal information, like their name, surname, social security number, address and phone number.

In the second step, they may pick their preferred place to receive vaccination. Barbora Mareková, the director of the NHIC productive management, said the applicant’s choices will not be restricted by their permanent residence.

PIN Codes for vaccinations

In the third step of the application process, the app will display free slots to the applicant. If there are none, the applicant will register as waiting. “The system assigns a PIN code to every registration, delivered to the applicant via SMS and email, conforming their waiting status,” Mareková described the process.

Waiting applicants will have the option of changing the personal detail they entered after registration, or they could cancel the registration all together. Vaccination centres can even postpone a vaccination date if the applicant cannot make it on that day.

“Everything needs to be announced to the centre at least 24 hours ahead of time,” Mareková added.

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