Maricopa County moves into Phase 1B for COVID-19 vaccines, website overwhelmed

Many people were hoping to reserve a place in line for the coronavirus vaccine, but the launch of the second phase on the Maricopa County website was off to a rocky start as it was plagued by technical issues.

A look at the numbers: with nearly 9,000 new cases and 6 additional deaths, the percent positivity for the past two weeks is at 24%.

So with the virus so widespread, there's a lot of demand for the vaccine and that's something we saw the morning of Jan. 11 when people in the Phase 1B group began to sign up.

1B includes K-12 school staff, child care workers, law enforcement and protective services workers, and adults age 75 and older.

The group will also include adults living in congregated settings and other essential workers.

In order to get vaccinated, people in Phase 1B must make an appointment. No walk-ins will be allowed. Limited appointments will be made at pod sites that are not already fully booked for second doses or for people from Phase 1A.

People in Phase 1A who have not received their first vaccinations will still have top priority.

Appointments can be made at https://www.maricopa.gov/5641/COVID-19-Vaccine

After registration began at 6 a.m., Maricopa County's website became overwhelmed and they were working on a solution to the problem.

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tweeted about her experience using the website to register, calling it a failure.

By 9 a.m., all five of Maricopa County's sites were fully booked.

If you were unable to get an appointment through Maricopa County, registration for the AZDHS' State Farm site began at 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 11. Keep in mind that the people in the Phase 1A group will get priority over the 1B group, so appointments for the second group are limited.

Hundreds of people showed up at the new 24/7 vaccine location at State Farm Stadium looking for a vaccine or just looking for help on how to go about getting one.

Tom Gimino had trouble registering online for a dose saying, "I’m 82 years old, so I’m on the top bracket. All I want to do is get registered so I can come back here and get the vaccine, but nobody can tell me what the hell to do."

Gimino’s was able to finally make an appointment although the opening of the 1B vaccination registration in Maricopa County was plagued by glitches.

Milton Spain said he waited for hours to get an appointment. "I finally got a slot on the 26th in Goodyear, which means I’ve got to drive about 30 miles"

When he booked the appointment, he got a notification saying he was scheduled for his second dose of the vaccine. Of course, that was a glitch.

"I called the number and it said, 'We can’t take your call. We’re having system difficulties,' to which I said to myself, 'No kidding, I know that,'" Spain said.

Part of the problem may have been the county’s sign up process went live before the state’s did.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Dept. of Health Services, says they’re working on it. "We would encourage everyone to continue using the website or call and make an appointment, there’s still plenty of appointments available. We’ve had a huge response and a large number of people able to get through, so just keep trying."

24 hour COVID-19 vaccination site opens at State Farm Stadium in Glendale

It's a big step forward in the fight against COVID-19 as a 24/7 vaccination site will open at State Farm Stadium on Jan. 11.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 10 News for live updates:

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In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

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Behind the scenes at a COVID-19 testing lab

FOX 10 took a look behind the scenes at Paradigm Labs in Phoenix, where they're testing for COVID-19.

Nearly 140,000 people are vaccinated against COVID-19 in Arizona as of Jan. 8

The Arizona Department of Health Services released information relating to the number of vaccinated people in the state against COVID-19 on Jan. 9.