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Call centres see massive demand as COVID-19 vaccine appointments open

About 1.7 million calls poured into the Province’s call centres as the lines opened to take appointments for B.C.’s oldest residents on Monday morning, prompting health officials to ask the public to hold off until their age group comes up.

Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Minister of Health said the huge call volume could put a strain on the system.

“It’s really important, in order to allow those over 90 to get their appointments, that we only call when our age group becomes open for calling,” explained Dix. “It’s particularly important because it allows our fellow citizens, particularly our elders, to get their appointments booked.”

Despite the massive call volume, only a relatively small portion of the population is eligible for vaccination at this point.

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Dix said there are approximately 47,000 people in B.C. over 90 years old, 19,733 of whom have already been received their first dose. He noted that about 27,000 people in this age group are eligible to book appointments.

Meanwhile, approximately 35,000 Indigenous Elders 65 and older live in B.C., and between 7,000 and 8,000 of them have been immunized.

In total, about 55,000 people across the province can book appointments. Compared to the large call volume, that makes for about 33 calls for every eligible B.C. resident.

Dix said the demand on the B.C. Government’s system will only grow as time moves on bookings open to more people.

“It’s really important that people follow our advice and the need to only call in when you can book an appointment.”

Dix also noted that the open day shows that improvements need to be made to the call centre as well, as pressure on it will increase over time.

As of Monday, March 8th, the schedule for those able to book appointments goes as follows:

  • Call on Monday, March 8th or after:
    • Those born in or before 1931 (90+ years old).
    • Indigenous people born in or before 1956 (65+ years old), and Elders.
  • Call on Monday, March 15th or after:
    • Those born in or before 1936 (85+ years old).
  • Call on Monday, March 22nd or after:
    • Those born in the year 1941 or earlier (80+ years old)

Those calling must also provide some personal information to book their appointment:

  • legal name
  • date of birth
  • postal code
  • personal health number (PHN) from the back of B.C. driver’s licences or BC services cards, and
  • current contact information; including a regularly monitored email address or phone number.

More: Interior Health to open nearly 50 COVID-19 vaccine clinics (Mar 8, 2021)

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