TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A message announcing walk-in BioNTech (BNT) vaccines accidentally went viral in Hsinchu City, attracting crowds to form at vaccine sites on Saturday (Oct. 16) and upsetting citizens who had registered for the vaccine beforehand.
UDN quoted the Hsinchu City Government as saying that 26,600 people registered for the 11th round of BNT vaccines while it received 28,812 doses from the central government. Therefore, the Public Health Bureau sent messages through community outlets to inform local residents “those who are not registered may also come” in an attempt to use up the 2,000-dose surplus.
However, the message went viral, and in the process, someone even added additional notes such as “those from other counties and cities also allowed,” and “also open for vaccination on the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st,” causing crowds to flood various vaccine administration stations in Hsinchu City.
According to UDN, when some people who had pre-registered for the vaccine arrived for their 2 p.m. appointment at their chosen vaccination site at 1:45 p.m., they were shocked to find “over a hundred people already in line.” Though they queued up, they discovered that many people were there who had not registered, and felt fooled by the incident.
Those who rushed to get the walk-in vaccines also did not expect such a turnout, and some were eventually persuaded to leave, per UDN. They told reporters that if they had known there was a limited supply, they would have taken more time to consider whether or not to go for the chance.
The Hsinchu City Public Health Bureau apologized to citizens about the chaos, and said it had deployed more staff to clear up the traffic. It clarified that walk-in vaccinations were limited to Saturday only and will not occur again in the future; any extra vaccine quotas will be released through the online registration system.