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Beaumont triples server capacity after vaccine demand crashes system

The Detroit News

Beaumont Health has tripled its server capacity over the weekend after its website crashed Friday due to heavy demand for COVID-19 vaccines.

The health system will continue working on the system and plans to expand capacity even more, said Hans Keil, Beaumont’s chief information officer.

“I’m proud we more than tripled our capacity so quickly,” he said.

Beaumont said it will begin vaccinating people 65 and older on Monday.

The surge in demand occurred after Beaumont notified patients Thursday night that vaccinations would be available to people 65 and older.

Dr. Nick Gilpin receives his second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot from registered nurse Susan Grant at Beaumont Health in Southfield on Tuesday.

Keil compared the demand to what happens when concert tickets are put on sale and many people log in at the same time to buy them.

On a typical day, Beaumont processes 900 online appointments, he said. On Friday, 25,000 people tried to register for an appointment.

While the heavy demand was too much for the system to handle, Keil said he was heartened to see so many people interested in getting the vaccine.

“We are thrilled to see this kind of interest,” he said. “The vaccine is our ticket out of this pandemic.”

Nearly 1 million Beaumont patients have access to myBeaumontChart, an online health portal that connects people with their health records, medical test information and appointments.

Beaumont presently has the ability to vaccinate 3,200 people a day at the Beaumont Service Center in Southfield, and has plans to expand to additional sites soon.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week announced that the state would move to Phase 1B in vaccinations, allowing people 65 and older, front-line workers and teachers starting Monday to begin receiving vaccinations. Pre-K through 12th grade teachers and childcare providers also are eligible.

Those eligible should contact their employer or local health department to discuss their vaccination options, Beaumont Health said.