Montreal

Technical glitches abound as Quebecers look to accelerate 2nd vaccine dose

There were technical challenges with Clic santé and the telephone line which may have affected some users, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said.

Clic santé serves up error messages and calling leads to long wait

A man is welcomed at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal on June 1. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Brenda Menard logged on to Quebec's website for scheduling vaccines at around 12:00 a.m. Monday, hoping to get her 87-year-old father an appointment for his second dose.

With people 80 and up eligible to move up their inoculation, she didn't want to miss her chance. But the Châteauguay resident, after entering all the requested information into Clic santé, kept getting an error message rather than the confirmation she wanted.

"I did that for at least an hour, and I went to bed," Menard said. "This morning I got up at five o'clock and exactly the same thing happened."

She decided to call instead, and was on hold for a couple of hours before finally getting through to someone and landing her father an appointment.

"It was very frustrating," said Menard, who was equally irked that Quebec wasn't publicizing the technical issues online so people wouldn't waste their time.

Technical issues are being fixed

There were indeed technical challenges with Clic santé and the telephone line which may have affected some users, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Noémie Vanheuverzwijn, told CBC News on Monday.

Several thousand people were able to move their appointment to an earlier date, said Vanheuverzwijn in an email, and now public health is working to fix the glitch.

Moving the second dose is not an obligation, but "an opportunity made available due to a larger quantity of vaccines," she said. 

As for those who don't want to go to the trouble of moving their appointment, the one they scheduled when they got their first dose will be honoured, said Vanheuverzwijn.

Still waiting for Moderna, AZ deliveries

As it stands, the ministry said in a statement, the option of advancing the second dose is only available to those aged 80 and up whose first dose was the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

This decision was made due to the deliveries currently planned.

"As it is recommended that the second dose be of the same vaccine as that administered in the first dose, the timing of the administration of the second dose is dependent on vaccine arrivals," the statement says.

The next vaccine delivery from Moderna or AstraZeneca will be confirmed shortly and updates will be posted to the public health website, it says.

For the AstraZeneca vaccine, second doses are still available at walk-in clinics for people who received a first dose of the same eight weeks ago.

If those people want a different type of COVID-19 vaccine, they will have to wait until their initial appointment and request a change in the vaccine on the spot, public health says. 

As for those who got Moderna the first time, people aged 75 and over will be able to advance their appointment as of Tuesday morning.

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