Edmonton

Alberta Health says online vaccine record improvements coming

Alberta Health says it is working to improve access to digital immunization records — something some Albertans have been struggling with in recent weeks.

Government says printable paper cards will be available soon

Ghada Haggag, manager of All Care Pharmacy in Capilano, says many of her customers are confused about how to access their COVID-19 vaccine records. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

Alberta Health says it is working to improve access to digital immunization records — something some Albertans have been struggling with in recent weeks.

Most Albertans are able to access health information through the province's online MyHealth Records tool, but three vaccinated adults told CBC News on Wednesday that they have encountered problems with the system.

Lisa King, who lives just outside of Wainwright, said she can see her immunizations on MyHealth Records, but not those of her sons, who are 12 and 13 years old. 

Karlie Marrazzo of Edmonton said she signed up for an account in June, but the verification process took several months. After complaining to Alberta Health Services on Twitter, waiting on hold and eventually speaking with an agent, she was able to view her vaccine records online. Recently, though, she and her boyfriend were not able to log back into the site. 

Lisa Wood of Edmonton said it took a long time for her vaccination records to appear online. More than a month passed before her first dose showed up and it took nine weeks for the second dose to do so.

"If they would just give out one of those vaccine passport things, it would make things so much easier for everyone," she said.

Janaya Matheson of the social media group Vaccine Hunters Alberta said some people have also reported errors and miscategorized records, as well as problems accessing MyHealth Records from outside Canada. 

At All Care Pharmacy in Edmonton's Capilano neighbourhood, manager Ghada Haggag has been fielding many calls from confused customers. 

The calls have intensified in the past week, she said, as many people are realizing they will need proof of full vaccination in order to return to school or work.

Some customers call Haggag from airports and other countries, needing documents emailed as soon as possible.

"We are trying to help as much as we can," she said.

She walks people through the process of signing up for a MyHealth Records account, but it can take up to 10 days for an activation code to arrive in the mail — too long for some callers. 

Improvements coming, Alberta Health says

Spokesperson Chris Bourdeau said in an emailed statement that Alberta Health "is investigating records individually and working to secure more resources to make immunization record inquiries more timely."

He said Alberta Health is also working to make MyHealth Records easier to access and that soon, Albertans will be able to use it to print a paper card showing immunizations.

In the meantime, he wrote, Albertans can provide the papers they received when vaccinated as proof, and if needed, they require copies from immunization providers. 

Albertans who received COVID-19 vaccines at Alberta Health Services' sites can visit public health clinics or call 811.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeleine Cummings joined CBC Edmonton in 2018. You can reach her at madeleine.cummings@cbc.ca

With files from Emily Fitzpatrick

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