PETALING JAYA: The 268,800 AstraZeneca vaccination slots in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were taken up in about three and a half hours after registration opened yesterday at noon.
Initially, there was frustration and confusion when many thought all the available slots were swooped up just minutes after registration opened.
But constant tweets from Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and public discussions online fuelled determination to register to get protected from Covid-19.
A few minutes before registration opened, Khairy had offered a glimpse of what the booking site would look like with appointment dates and venues clearly displayed.
However, applicants started questioning when they only saw fields for their MyKad or passport and contact numbers when they logged in.
The situation became even more puzzling when some people said that they managed to register for a slot at 11am, an hour before the site officially opened.
However, Khairy, who co-chairs the special committee on Covid-19 vaccine (JKJAV), clarified on social media that any bookings made before noon yesterday were not recorded as an earlier link displayed was just a staging link meant for testing.
The situation was rectified at around 12.15pm when the site displayed appointment dates ranging from as early as May 5 to June 6 at vaccination centres at World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, Ideal Convention Centre Shah Alam, the Universiti Malaya Examination Hall and Dewan Gemilang at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
From then, it was a rush to book a slot, with some saying they had to refresh the site several times or pick a different date and venue before they finally got a message congratulating them for successfully doing so.
About an hour and a half after registrations opened, about 100,000 slots had been taken up and all slots were gone in less than four hours.
But Khairy assured those interested that they could still go on the waiting list and a million more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be arriving this month via the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (Covax).
“We will expand the opt-in to other states, except Sarawak which has declined, and ensure those without Internet access can also sign up, ” he said.
Persistence paid off for marketing executive Susan Lim, who said she felt anxious for about 30 minutes until she finally managed to register for herself, her parents and siblings.
“I kept looking at Twitter to see what others were going through and found that some people managed to register, so I did not give up and went back on the page to refresh it.
“All I wanted was for my parents to get a slot, ” said Lim, 35.
A 28-year-old writer who only wanted to be known as Izzaty said she almost gave up after failing several times to get a slot but had renewed determination when a colleague said the website was working again and she managed to register for herself and her husband.