Kingston area parents express joy and frustration over booking vaccination for children aged five to 11

The confirmation of booking an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 on the KFL&A Public Health appointment booking tool, which many area parents and guardians were eager to see on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. Graphic illustration by Tori Stafford.

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health opened up online COVID-19 vaccination appointment bookings for those aged five to 11 today, leading to high volumes of visitors to the booking page and prompting two very different responses from local residents.

Public Health announced on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, that the much-anticipated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccinations for children would begin booking appointments the following morning on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 at 8 a.m. Hundreds of area parents and guardians flooded KFL&A Public Health’s online vaccine clinic booking tool right away, and with varying results.

“The lines are looong for booking child vaccines this morning! Nothing is going to harsh my buzz on this amazing step, but why aren’t these vaccines being done in schools? This is how I got most of my vaccines,” Elizabeth Godyear-Grant posed on Twitter less than an hour after the online booking tool opened.

Screen shot of the KFL&A Public Health online COVID-19 vaccine appointment booking tool on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. Screen shot via Kayla Tienhaara on Twitter.

“If anyone is wondering if parents in Kingston are keen to get their 5-11 yr olds vaccinated – yes, yes we are (and no the estimated waiting time is not correct, lol),” Kayla Tienhaara wrote on Twitter with the above screen shot of her view of the Public Health booking tool, which multiple users reported issues with.

Incorrect information that appeared on the KFL&A Public Health website on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, adding to the confusion experience by parents attempting to book vaccine appointments for their children.

Meanwhile, some users reported that different prompts through the booking tool didn’t align. For instance, those booking the appointments are required to enter their own Health Card information and then prompted to enter the same information for the children they’re attempting to book appointments for. Likewise, users were asked to indicate how many children they were booking for, but then given the space to input information for up to four children on the next screen, even if they’d indicated they were booking for only one child. Additionally, if the spot users were trying to book was taken by someone else while they were inputting their information, they received an error message saying “that provider is not available,” leading to some further confusion.

In fact, some users were greeted with an incorrect message on the KFL&A Public Health website, which read “Vaccine for those aged 5-11 is not yet available in our region. Please do not book vaccine appointments for children 5-11 years of age at this time.” However, those users later reported they were able to book their children in for appointments after a few attempts.

And many of those who were able to book the appointments took to social media to express their elation.

“Never thought the whole household would be so excited for the child to get a needle, but here we are. Booked in for Saturday! #ygk #VaccinateKFLA,” Laura Carter, Librarian with Kingston Frontenac Public Library said on Twitter, prompting a handful of similar replies.

“Booked my 10 year old for dose #1! Looking forward to being a fully vaccinated family soon. #ygk,” Kingstonian Katherine Wieser wrote on Twitter, along with thanks to KFL&A Public Health for “making this happen.”

Beyond announcing excitement over booking the COVID-19 vaccine appointments, some parents praised the local Health Unit for providing options for the appointments that will suit the differing needs of area children.

“Super happy #ygk and @KFLAPH (KFL&A Public Health) are offering a drive through Covid Vaccine clinic for youth! This is a great option for #autistic and #anxious youth. No waiting rooms & little personal interaction is the best path for us!” a Twitter user with the handle ‘Tired_Mom’ expressed.

KFL&A Public Health said that, by the end of the business day, 4165 vaccination appointments had been booked for children aged 5-11.

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