Ontario launching Provincial Booking System for COVID-19 vaccines

KINGSTON, ON – JANUARY 12: Nursing staff at Kingston Health Sciences Centre administer the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in southeastern Ontario to Nanette Isaac, from Extendicare as part of the province-wide vaccination campaign, at the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Kingston, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Matthew Manor/KHSC)

The Ontario government is launching a provincial booking system and customer service desk to support COVID-19 vaccination appointment bookings. The portal will be live on Monday, Mar. 15 at 8:00 a.m. and will be accepting appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics like the one at Kingston’s Invista Centre or Greater Napanee’s Strathcona Centre, starting with individuals aged 80 and older.

“We are making steady progress in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan, and the launching of the online booking system is another major milestone,” said Premier Doug Ford. “In this phase of our plan we are still offering vaccines to our most vulnerable, so I encourage everyone aged 80 and older to use the portal to book an appointment. For everyone else, please be patient, as we get more supply, the vaccine will be offered to more people.”

Beginning tomorrow, individuals who will be turning 80 or older in 2021 (born in 1941 or earlier) and wish to make an appointment — or an individual trusted to make an appointment on their behalf — can visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine. There, individuals will be guided to make an appointment through the provincial booking system, or their local public health unit if there is a local public health unit booking system or call centre in place. When booking an appointment, individuals will be asked for information from their green Ontario health card, birth date, postal code and email address and/or phone number. At the time of booking, eligible individuals will schedule their first and second vaccination appointments.

Individuals who still have a red and white health card, or who require assistance with booking, can call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line number at 1-888-999-6488 beginning on Monday, Mar. 15. The same number can be used by individuals turning 80 or older in 2021 who do not have internet access. The Provincial Vaccine Information Line is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Expired cards will be accepted. The provincial booking system will direct individuals without a health card to their public health unit for identity validation, and will provide contact information.

“The provincial booking system will be critical in supporting the next phase of Ontario’s vaccine rollout as more vaccines become available,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We know everyone is eager to receive the vaccine, and as we continue to build capacity, we are making it easier and more convenient for individuals to book and receive the vaccine as quickly as possible.”

At this time, vaccination appointments are only available for individuals turning 80 or older in 2021 as part of Phase One of Ontario’s vaccine distribution plan. Starting in April, the online booking tool and call centre will extend to additional age-based groups that are part of Phase Two.

The province is expecting a high volume of traffic to its online booking system and is asking those not yet eligible to avoid accessing the booking system or calling the service desk to allow those that are eligible the opportunity to book an appointment.

“With the launch of the new provincial booking portal and support number we are reaching yet another milestone in our plan to vaccinate Ontarians as fast as we can and as soon as we receive the vaccines,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Our task force continues to work to bolster and adjust our vaccine rollout plan as shipments to Ontario continue to fluctuate. The portal and customer support number will prove instrumental through Phase 2 as we open mass vaccination sites and inoculate more Ontarians.”

For the month of March, Ontario says it is expecting to receive 870,480 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 483,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Ontario has also received 194,500 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine the week of Mar. 8. With Phase One of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout nearing completion, the Ontario government is preparing to move into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, with a focus on vaccinating populations based on age and risk.

“The introduction of these booking systems puts in place the final piece in the province’s infrastructure to rollout its vaccination program,” said General (Ret’d) Rick Hillier. “There is now a fulsome range of options for the people of Ontario to book an appointment and receive their vaccine, but please only use them if and when it is your turn.”

A pilot for pharmacy vaccine administration also began on March 12 in select regions, including in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington region. To book an appointment, eligible Ontarians aged 60-64 can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy.

The province says that, to date, over 1.1 million vaccine doses have been administered across the province, including over 127,000 doses administered to long-term care home residents. In the KFL&A region, as of Mar. 12, 2021, 13919 first vaccine doses have been administered, with 3027 individuals already having also received their second doses.

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