B.C. residents line up to get vaccine passports in-person

Prince Rupert residents spilled out of the Service BC Centre into the parking lot and down the sidewalk on Sept. 8, as they queued to get their vaccine passports verified, set up and printed due to a myriad of difficulties.

Some residents said they attended in person to simplify the vaccine passport registration process but ended up waiting over 25 minutes to simply enter the inside portion of the doorway.

What was described by some as “glitches” in the online process, was the final straw for many.

“I just couldn’t get through it,” Noella Gouchie, a retiree, told The Northern View .“It’s not that it didn’t work, it just wouldn’t let me get through. Everything would freeze up,” she said. “So I just stopped.”

Gouchie waited online for more than 30 minutes the night before and rebooted her computer four times to access her vaccine passport. She’s concerned how others, who are less tech-savvy than herself, will get their vaccine passports.

“If I’m going through this, what about an awful lot of the elders and older people who don’t know how to fix this because I don’t know how to fix this. So, how are they going to fix it,” she said.

Andrei Buciaua, a longshoreman, said they already have the app.

“… but to get validated, it seems the system kind of crashes. So, you need to come to Services [BC] to get it. I think the [app] is good, but I think at the same time it just makes it easier for me to come here and get it verified right away — and after that, I can have it on my phone all the time.”

Other residents were simply stumped by the online verification and registration process and thus dissuaded by the over 40-minute virtual wait times in order to validate their health personal health number.

Melanie Basso went in person to the Services BC Centre for the second time in less than a week. She downloaded the app a few days ago but said she needed to return it as it wasn’t completed properly.

” … It’s not done because on the paper that they gave me, there’s no barcode or whatever you need to scan,” Melanie Basso said.

Many said they found it difficult to set up the vaccine passport online.

Rob Basso waited more than 15 minutes outside and said, “When I try and view it, in the Health Gateway, all that shows up is: ‘Oh, you’ve got a 20-minute line-up to process it.’ So it’s not showing me the card now and I just want to get that checked out.”

Florence Knott is a cancer patient and will require a passport to enter the hospital. She said when she entered her personal information into the online system it promoted a 45-minute waiting period.

“I have it online, but it’s such a pain,” she said.

Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View

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