Spokane Arena vaccination site opening marred by long lines, online issues

SPOKANE, Wash. — A chaotic morning at the Spokane Arena led to a traffic jam this afternoon as hundreds of people tried to sign up to get vaccinated.

So many people tried to get appointments when the line opened at 9 a.m. that it crashed the website. And the crowding problems only continued from there.

Everyone 4 News Now reached out to today said the actual vaccination process was quick and painless — but the traffic around the Arena was a complete mess.

Some people waited more than two hours just to park their car.

Many were frustrated by that, but others were just happy to finally get the vaccine. Hundreds of people showed up hoping to get their first dose, only to get stuck in a tangle of cars and lines.

“So, we’re missing our appointments because the traffic is so backed up,” said a woman waiting in line.

Just getting that appointment was stressful enough, as CHAS Health’s website crashed less than an hour after it went live this morning.

RELATED: CHAS Health’s vaccine scheduling website, phone line experiencing delays

The healthcare provider says it’s working with another company to make the website easier to use.

In the meantime, people thought they were showing up on time for their appointments, just to see traffic backed up all around the arena.

Dan Blashill had an 11 a.m. appointment, but waited more than three hours to get in.

“For the first day of this being set up, I’m sure there was gonna be some confusion and stuff,” said Blashill. “I just appreciated the fact that they still have the shots available for us.”

Others found a way around the traffic, and got in and out within an hour.

“[It was] uneventful,” recalled Mike Ramsden.

There’s no point in heading down or even setting up an appointment online for this mass vaccination site. All appointments at the Spokane Arena are booked for the rest of this week.

RELATED: All vaccine appointments at Spokane Arena have been booked, drive-thru testing suspended

You won’t be able to even get online to make an appointment for next week until Monday. They’re not scheduling those right now, because it’s still not clear how many vaccine doses are actually coming in.

“They will come… the vaccines will come, it just may not be as quickly as they want to, so please just be patient as we receive more from the state,” said CHAS Health administrator Kelley Charvet.

For some reason, Spokane Police (SPD) were not a part of the original opening plan of this vaccination site. But now, the City of Spokane says SPD will be helping out with traffic here as needed over the next few days.

RELATED: Police directing traffic near Spokane Arena, avoid area unless you have a vaccine appointment