CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cuyahoga County Board of Health acknowledged this week that its website accidentally allowed people not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to register for one.
Health Commissioner Terry Allan said Thursday that the link was intended only for health-care workers, first responders and the residents and staff of congregate-care facilities. The board will cancel all appointments made by those who are not yet eligible to register, Allan said during a Thursday news briefing.
“We don’t believe that this was done with any malicious intent,” Allan said. “But in order to try to focus on the intent of reaching phase 1A groups, we’re establishing some additional screening mechanisms to focus on phase 1A groups.”
Kevin Brennan, a board of health spokesman, told cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer on Friday that people who were eligible to register in the first phase forwarded the link to others who were not supposed to be using the link, which added to confusion.
Allan said people in phase 1A who receive a sign-up link will need to fill out an updated pre-registration form to schedule a date and time for the vaccine. They also will have to show identification from their place of work, as well as an Ohio driver’s license or state identification card at the vaccination site.
“If you do not meet these criteria, you are not currently eligible to be vaccinated and we ask you to be patient to allow us to work through this very large 1A group,” Allan said. “As other groups become eligible for vaccination in subsequent phases over time, more information will be shared with the community.”
Allan said the board of health has vaccinated nearly 1,800 people.
People 65 and older are next in line for vaccinations, but Allan does not know when the second phase would start.
“Many people are not fully aware of the groups that are in phase 1A,” Allan said. “And so we believe that it certainly wasn’t with any ill intent that the link was shared beyond some of the initial target 1A groups. But what we’ve done now in the process is very quickly, within a matter of less than 24 hours, to institute some controls in the process to refine it and improve it.”