I get it, everybody is frustrated after spending a whole afternoon trying to get into today’s Astra Zeneca voluntary registration site, only to find out it was shutdown barely after an hour – with very few of us actually managing to secure an appointment. (hint: we’re fairly certain not all slots were taken up, so expect it to be reopened soon once the backend issues are rectified).
Social media is already ablaze with disgruntled netizens upset that they did not manage to get an appointment, and the blame game has already started. The servers were definitely ill-equipped to handle the load. Captcha is used to protect sites from bots, and while usually efficient, was never designed to handle large spikes in human traffic. From misconfigured Cloudflare settings, to CORS permission errors, everything that could have went wrong went wrong. Ask any web developer and they will tell you, all it takes is one simple configuration mistake to send a heavily loaded app into a cascading free fall, and sure enough that happened today.
But this is not a commercial venture, or a rush to get tickets for a sold out rock concert. This is about the distribution of a potentially life saving vaccine in a time of need, so we’re not going to dwell on what went wrong, design flaws or how much money has been invested to get this going and who is to blame. We’re going to instead suggest a workaround to solve this issue as soon as possible, so everybody can get their vaccination appointments without any more frustrations.
Introducing Project Fair Shot: Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Sites Can Keep Up With Demand. https://t.co/IDlIufcUjl
— Cloudflare (@Cloudflare) January 22, 2021
Cloudflare’s Project Fair Shot was announced back in January this year to help solve this exact problem and is provided free to governments, municipalities, hospitals and organizations to deploy a waiting room queue system for vaccine sign up and registrations. As the current vaccination sign up site at https://vaksincovid.gov.my/ is already on the Cloudflare infrastructure, all that needs to be done is to sign up for Project Fair Shot, and the system will be deployed without the need for any additional coding.
A virtual waiting queue will save hours of rebuilding the registration site, as well as avoid the need for additional server upgrades. It also will save a lot of time, and ensure that vaccination appointments can be distributed fairly without frustrating those who are already voluntarily trying to sign up to get themselves vaccinated.