Kuala Lumpur May 2 — The online booking for the AstraZeneca vaccine kicked off at noon today but encountered some glitches and technical difficulties on account of high traffic.

“There are AZ slots still available. Overwhelming traffic the first few minutes. But slots still available,” Khairy Jamaluddin, who is the minister coordinating the Covid-19 immunisation, said in a tweet.

Despite the technical difficulties, the opening of online booking had received enthusiastic response from volunteers.

Yesterday, Khairy announced that bookings for the voluntary AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shots would officially open at noon today.

He said those interested may do so at the http://vaksincovid.gov.my website.

Khairy Jamaluddin’s tweet stating that only bookings after 12 noon would be accepted.

However, on social media platforms such as Twitter, many claimed that the registration site had opened earlier than scheduled.

A Twitter user, @fsrfaee, claimed his friend managed to get a vaccine slot at 11am today, one hour earlier than announced.

However, Khairy explained that bookings before noon were only for “staging and testing” purposes.

“There was a staging link that was being tested earlier. Bookings before 1200hrs are not recorded. Only bookings after 1200hrs are recorded,” he said in a separate tweet.

His response caused a backlash from netizens, saying the “staging purpose” could lead to confusion among volunteers, thinking they had successfully registered for the vaccine shots.

A Twitter user, @chiakaivalya, said: “Seriously? What amateur IT team is running this? If it is not real, it should not go live! Staging should be run on a separate instance. You are really going to mess it up for some people.”

The Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Special Committee for Ensuring Access (JKJAV) previously said that the AstraZeneca vaccine would only be administered on a voluntary “first come, first served” basis at a special vaccination centre.

Volunteers were then advised to book their slots quickly. “Once we have reached the limit, registration will be closed,” it said.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, for now, will only be for residents in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, aged 18 and above.

The decision to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine on a voluntary basis was taken following concerns that it may cause blood clots in a very low number of cases.

As a result, a few European countries had put on hold administration of this vaccine.

Meanwhile, Fomca president N Marimuthu said the government needs to explain what caused this mess as his team had been trying for 20 minutes after 12pm but was told all slots had been booked.

“Fomca is calling for a probe into this mess which should not have taken place in the first place. This smacks of poor planning and execution and Malaysians just cannot accept this.

“I was told more than 200,000 people have already booked. And the vaccine minister says all those who booked before noon were not recorded. This is such ridiculous management of an important procedure for the rakyat,” he said.

Despite the initial setback, registration seems to be proceeding smoothly now. At 1.15pm, Khairy tweeted that 100,000 appointments had been logged and 160,000 more slots were available.


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