British Columbia

Online vaccine registration opens in B.C. as province moves to Phase 3 of rollout

B.C.'s online registration system for COVID-19 vaccine appointments will open to eligible adults on Tuesday morning, as the province overhauls its current program for making bookings.

'Get Vaccinated' system opens 8 a.m. PT Tuesday for those born in 1950 or earlier

Health-care workers provide COVID-19 vaccines at a drive-thru clinic in Central Park in Burnaby, B.C., on March 26. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C.'s online registration system for COVID-19 vaccine appointments opened to eligible adults on Tuesday morning, as the province overhauls its current program for making bookings.

The new "Get Vaccinated" system was made available at 8 a.m. PT. People who are 71 and older — those born in 1950 or earlier — and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are now able to register online to book their appointment, as are Indigenous people who are 18 and older.

A new provincial call centre for booking vaccination appointments also opened Tuesday at 8 a.m. PT.

The launch of the provincewide portal comes as case numbers spike in B.C., with a record-high daily total on Saturday of 1,077 new infections and an outbreak within the Vancouver Canucks roster.

The ministry said the online portal and single provincial call centre will replace the five regional call centres currently being used to register patients and book vaccine appointments. 

The changes to the vaccine booking process mean B.C. is moving into Phase 3 of its four-phase vaccination plan, the statement said.

"We have worked diligently and tirelessly to get this online registration, booking and tracking system ready for British Columbians," said Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead of B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization program.

"Now, with the help of the new online and single phone number system, we're ready to move onto the next phase."

The province faced criticism last month for not having an online registration system ready to go when Phase 2 of the age-based vaccination program began, as call centres in each health authority were initially overwhelmed.

The Fraser Health region was the only area where residents could book an appointment online instead of risking an hours-long wait when booking by phone.

How the online system will work

Residents can register online when it is their turn and receive a confirmation code. They will then wait for an email, text or call telling them they are eligible and can then book their vaccine appointment. 

The new provincial website is available in 12 languages.

People aged 55-65 on the Lower Mainland are still eligible to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at a participating pharmacy near them, and the province said it will announce details about expanding the program to other regions in the days ahead. That vaccination stream is running parallel to the age-based program.

People wait in line to book an appointment for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Vancouver on March 31, 2021. (Christophe Barachet/CBC)

To date, nearly 770,000 eligible B.C. residents — or one in six — have received their first dose of vaccine, and more than 87,000 have received their second dose, the province said.

If B.C.'s vaccine supply is delivered as scheduled, the province said everyone who is eligible for the vaccine will receive their first dose by the end of June.

With files from The Canadian Press