June is smiling as she and her neighbours at Centennial Place have all been vaccinated. The province continues to deliver vaccines to high risk residents across the province in Phase 1 of its rollout during the initial period of limited vaccine supply. At the moment, vaccines are being administered to staff at the local long term care home, and will move on to residents in high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care homes.
Early this week it was announced that Peterborough County is one of six Public Health districts that will be participating in Ontario‘s “soft launch” of its website for booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments. The website will not be available to residents, but public health officials will seek out eligible candidates starting this week. The objective is to test components of the system prior to a full launch on March 15th to avoid what the Health Minister describes as “rushing to failure”.
Minister Elliot has reason for concern. On Monday the York Region on-line booking portal opened at 8am and by 8:30 more than 24,000 residents had tried to book their appointment. There were 20,000 available.
Other jurisdictions with existing on-line booking portals are hearing criticism about technology failures including website crashes and long virtual queues, but the more troubling complaint is that the process rewards the most technically proficient rather than the most at risk.
It’s difficult to remain patient but with the approval of a third vaccine, perhaps we will be rewarded with a quicker vaccine delivery schedule. Our reputation for a willingness to queue up is now being tested but the results will be worth the wait. KG