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COVID-19 vaccine cancellation messages incorrectly sent to Minnesota seniors

A software company that runs the state's online vaccination portal said it takes "full responsibility."

Thousands of Minnesotans received COVID-19 vaccine cancellation notices in error on Saturday morning, Minnesota health officials said.

Several people reached out to KARE 11 on Saturday morning about the message, which in many cases appeared to be sent to seniors who had already received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose as part of the state's 65+ vaccine pilot program. The message told the recipient that a future vaccine appointment was unauthorized and being canceled.

Later, many people who spoke to KARE 11 reported receiving a follow-up notice saying the earlier message was an error and that future appointments are confirmed as previously scheduled. 

Later in the afternoon, the Minnesota Department of Health said almost all of the Minnesotans who got the message received it due to an error by Primary Bio, a vendor responsible for the state's online vaccination scheduling. 

MDH said the message was intended for a small group of around 20 Minnesotans. According to MDH, an earlier error by Primary Bio allowed those Minnesotans to schedule vaccine appointments even though they weren't eligible for the program. 

Officials said the Minnesotans who received the message in error have been notified that their appointments are still scheduled. 

The software vendor said it took "full responsibility" for the error. 

"We take full responsibility for the error that occurred earlier today, which resulted in thousands of Minnesotans receiving incorrect information about their vaccine appointment," a spokesperson for the company told KARE 11. "We have corrected that error and communicated directly to Minnesotans impacted that their appointment is confirmed as scheduled. We have apologized to the State of Minnesota and all those Minnesotans impacted and are taking immediate steps to ensure it does not happen in the future." 

This is not the first technical issue reported with Minnesota's online vaccination scheduling, which debuted earlier this month. Soon after the online portal for scheduling appointments opened, many users said they saw error messages or had other problems. Others, however, were able to make appointments or join the waitlist without issue. 

To better handle the high volume of online traffic, the state switched from its original first come, first served model to a randomized selection process.

RELATED: Vaccine sign-up for Minnesota adults 65+ will no longer be first come, first served

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