More than 50 percent of adults in the province have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. On Friday evening, the province will invite adults born in 1996 or earlier to make an appointment for a first dose. British Columbia’s online reservation system asks residents to register using their name and health card number, then sends a text or email notification when it’s their turn to book.
But Lori Gallacher, 36, said when her time to book came she didn’t get a text despite her friends the same age. She said some of her friends called Vancouver Coastal Health and were able to make an appointment, so she decided to do the same.
The first person she spoke to at the health authority said she would receive a notification within 48 hours. When Gallacher, who has a newborn baby and lives in Richmond, called back a second time, another operator said there was a problem with her health care number in the system, which was why she didn’t had not yet received a notification.
Gallacher said the operator couldn’t say why a problem had occurred or exactly what it was, but was able to fix it and make an appointment.
“There was no indication that there was anything wrong and I would never have known if I had waited for the text,” she said.
“I thought to myself – how many people eligible for the vaccine don’t get the notification, but don’t know there is this problem in the system, so they’re just going to just keep waiting with no idea that they won’t. never. to get the text? ”
The province of British Columbia did not immediately respond to inquiries from CBC News regarding reported issues with the system.
Lack of appointment
Madeline Taylor, who lives in New Westminster, woke up Thursday morning to a text saying she was now eligible to make an appointment. But when Taylor looked on the website, it appeared that there were no vaccination appointments available in their city.
Confused, Taylor took to social media to find out what to do next and eventually called the province’s information line and a confirmed appointment was available in the nearby town of Surrey.
But Taylor said the way the New Westminster date schedule was presented was confusing and it was initially unclear whether people could book in another city.
“I think even a line of text in the initial text message or in the email saying that the appointments will show as soon as they are available [would help], ” they said.
“Going to the website and seeing that there was just nothing there was very confusing because it didn’t even indicate that the available appointments were booked – there just weren’t any appointments. available, never. “
Still, Taylor said they cried in relief after their booking was completed.
“I’m not going to lie, I cried a lot. I am very excited to have some relief and to eventually be able to be close to the people I love again. It feels good not to be so afraid of a deadly virus. “
Gallacher said she too was thrilled to finally be vaccinated after more than a year of uncertainty.
“It’s honestly really exciting, there’s that light at the end of the tunnel there and there’s a lifting of that anxiety and worry that we’ve been feeling for this year now,” she said.