Parents desperate to get vaccinations and boosters for their children are frustrated by the disconnect between Ontario's booking system and the changing rules around who's eligible for the shots.
Children who turned five in 2021 were able to get their first dose before their birthday, but this year children will have to wait until their fifth birthday to get their first dose.
The same policy is now in place for 17-year-olds who want to book appointments for their booster dose. They have to turn 18 first.
That policy, while on paper, didn't stop families from successfully booking appointments for their children in the Ontario vaccine booking system starting Saturday, Jan. 1.
When parents like Jeff Outram arrived to get their child vaccinated, they were turned away at the community vaccination clinic.
"There's a lot of confusion around this," said Outram, whose son Henry turns five in March.
"My wife is an ICU nurse and we're exposed, so we're trying to take every precaution. And you can imagine the frustration just comes with that of trying to protect our little ones."
Karla Randell was also turned away while trying to get a booster dose for her daughter who turns 18 later this month.
"It's frustrating ... it just seems like there's so much misinformation out there," said Randell.
Some parents did report successful trips to a vaccine clinic in the first few days of January. Carl Flintoff says his daughter was able to get a vaccine dose at the Nepean Sportsplex
"When I arrived I was expecting them to turn me away, but they verified her health card and sent us through. ... I was very happy and relieved to get her vaccine," said Flintoff.
Ottawa's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches, told CBC on Monday the province is working to correct its booking system to erase the confusion, and children need to be five years old before getting their first dose.
ATTN:Parents of 4-year-olds who have booked vaccine apts (including today) & 17-yo who have booked booster doses.<br>Please do NOT attend your scheduled vaccine apt.<br>We are currently unable to vaccinate children under 5-years or provide booster doses for those under 18-years.<br>(1/4)—@OttawaHealth