B.C. bumps up eligible age groups for vaccine amid online booking confusion

·3 min read
Questions about the timing between registration and actually booking an appointment for the vaccine has led to a flood of online confusion and frustration.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Questions about the timing between registration and actually booking an appointment for the vaccine has led to a flood of online confusion and frustration. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

While the government of B.C. ramps up its COVID vaccine schedule, many are wondering what the registration and booking process means for them.

On Monday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said eligible age cohorts had been bumped up, meaning more British Columbians can register to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

But questions about the timing between registration and booking an appointment for the vaccine have led to a flood of online confusion and frustration.

"I'm confused ... I already registered. Does this mean I have to re-register when it's my turn? Please clarify," wrote @tkemper1900 on Twitter.

"Have my confirmation code and still haven't been notified of an appointment date! When might I expect to hear that?" wrote @hounder55.

Adding to the confusion, people aged 55 to 65 in many parts of the province can register to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine through their local pharmacy.
Adding to the confusion, people aged 55 to 65 in many parts of the province can register to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine through their local pharmacy.(Rémi Authier/Radio-Canada)

As of Monday, the updated schedule for age cohorts to register is:

  • Mon., April 12 – Born 1966 or earlier.

  • Wed., April 14 – Born 1971 or earlier.

  • Fri., April 16 – Born 1976 or earlier.

  • Mon., April 19 – Born 1981 or earlier.

The COVID-19 vaccination registration form remains open online for anyone to register, regardless of age, and anyone can register for someone else, like a parent or grandparent. However, the province asks that people register when it's their turn.

Registering helps authorities request the right amount of vaccine doses for each community, according to the provincial website.

In a statement, the Health Ministry says people should expect a wait time between when they register and when they are then invited to book an appointment.

The province says it will contact people when they are eligible based on three factors, including age, vaccine supply, and which immunization phase the province is in.

You will receive a confirmation number the province says will "make it easier" to book your vaccine appointment when eligible.

"We recognize people throughout the province are eager to access all vaccines that are available to them," said Marielle Tounsi, senior public affairs officer with the Ministry of Health. "Wait times vary depending on your age and vaccine supply."

The jump in age cohort is a big one. As of last Thursday, the province said those 65 and older could call to register.

On Saturday, the province bumped that up five years, to people born in 1961 or earlier.

Indigenous people 18 or older and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable can also now register to book their vaccine appointment through B.C.'s new Get Vaccinated system.

'Two streams'

Adding to the confusion is a separate booking system set up for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for people between the ages of 55 and 65 that uses local pharmacies throughout the province.

"The province will continue to deliver two streams of vaccines: one age-based program with Pfizer and Moderna and a second program with AstraZeneca delivered through pharmacies for people aged 55 to 65," Tounsi said.

To register and book a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine appointment, eligible age groups in B.C. are asked to:

  • Register online and get a confirmation number. You need that number to book your vaccination appointment.

  • You will be contacted by email, text or phone with a link, depending on the notification method you chose when you registered and based on your age and availability of vaccine. The link will allow you to book a vaccine appointment,

  • Visit the vaccine clinic to get your vaccine dose.

People who get their first vaccine dose will be notified by email, text or phone call when they are eligible to book an appointment for their second dose.