The NWT’s health authority rushed to completion an online booking system for vaccination against Covid-19 as frustration rose among Yellowknife seniors who missed out this week.
On Wednesday, the authority posted an online apology after many seniors complained they had followed instructions – call to book or fill out an online form for a call back – only to hear nothing.
On Thursday afternoon, apologizing once again for “the inconvenience or frustration that the phone backlog may have caused,” the health authority opened an online booking platform and said it was immediately opening more dates.
There are now new slots available from Monday, January 25 through to Thursday, January 28. If those dates fill up, more will be added.
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All appointments will take place at Yellowknife’s DND gymnasium inside the Multiplex, where flu vaccination took place in the fall.
Yellowknifers aged 60 or over are the only people eligible for the current dates.
“Over the past week we have heard concerns from many residents about availability of appointments and their ability to reach the public health unit in Yellowknife due to high call volume related to demand for appointment,” the authority said in a statement.
“The expanded clinic dates will introduce an online booking option similar to how flu clinics were managed in the fall of 2020. This new option aims to improve the booking experience for eligible residents and reduce phone-line volume at public health.”
Not all seniors have internet access or are comfortable booking online. The authority said public health’s phone line at (867) 767-9120 remained open for appointment reservation by phone.
“Residents who qualify for the clinic are encouraged to use the online booking form to secure their spot. Each appointment can accommodate up to two individuals so those who are booking can sign up their partner or friend to attend the clinic along with them,” the health authority said.
“We ask residents to only book appointments if they are within the initial priority group of 60 years of age and older. While we will not be checking names against dates of birth at the time of booking, this will be checked at the time of registration.
“Anyone who does not meet the 60-plus criteria will be asked to book again at a time in the future when they meet booking criteria.
“Future opportunities for expanded priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine will be announced as NTHSSA is advised that vaccine is available.”