2021-03-08 BC

Call Centres

Today was the first day of call-in registration for appointments for indigenous people over 65 / non-indigenous people over 90, and it did not go well, especially in Vancouver Coastal Health.

Health AuthorityAppointments booked
Fraser Health8,722
Interior Health2,456
Vancouver Island2,395
Northern Health1,007
Vancouver Coastal369

Fraser Health is the only Health Authority which has an online system working.

Something is really broken with VCH — it’s the second biggest health authority, and has the lowest number of appointments by far?

By 10AM, there were 1.7M calls that went in, while there are only about 54K people who are eligible for these appointments, so 31 calls per eligible person. There is belief that people were calling who were not eligible.

The good news is that every health authority aside from VCH actually did pretty well.


The locations of clinics have now been posted:

Press Briefing

Fri/Sat: +545 cases, +3 deaths
Sat/Sun: +532 cases, +4 deaths
Sun/Mon: +385 cases, +4 deaths

Over the weekend, +22119 first doses, +60 second doses, +141 of B.1.1.7, 3 of B.1.351.

Currently 240 in hospital / 66 in ICU, 4,854 active cases, 8,723 under monitoring, 78,237 recovered.

There is one LTCH outbreak, and Dr. H mentioned that it’s at a home where they’ve given second doses already (presumably to everyone who wanted them), and a few of the cases were in people who had gotten two doses. She reminded us that, while the vaccines give really good protection, they do not provide perfect protection.

Easing measures

Today, Dr. Henry talked optimistically about the nearish future. She was optimistic that the immunizations and the warmer weather would mean that we could ease the restrictions slowly emphasis on slowly. She encouraged us (again) to go outside, to go for a walk with someone, to meet (at a safe distance, in small groups) outside.

She said that they have been working with faith leaders to figure out how to resume services safely.

Dr. H was challenged during the Q&A, asked why she’s contemplating easing measures when we have case counts that were worrying her not long ago. She said basically that she was not as scared of variants as she had been before. She acknowledged that the VOC counts are increasing, but they are not exploding.


Q: What are you going to do about the the call centre being inadequate to handle the volume of calls? A: Dix said basically that education is needed, to get people to stop calling if it is not their turn, and that the call centre needs to do better.

Q: Why isn’t there online booking for every health authority? A: Dr. Henry said that the comprehensive system just wasn’t done yet (but promised that it would be done by the start of the mass vax clinics). She said that the challenge we have is that we don’t have a pre-built reservation system, and we saw this problem happen across the country; she said that hopefully once this is built, it can be used for similar clinics in the future.

Q: What do you think of the US CDC guidelines on what fully immunized people could do? A: Dr. H said she’d seen them, they looked reasonable, and ours will probably look similar (although she indicated she’d let people do those things once they had their first dose).

Q: Will there ever be a time when normal visits can happen? A: Yes, we’re working on it.

Q: What about the poor children and teens who won’t be vaccinated when all the adults have been? A: Dr. Henry reminded everyone that the goal of the clinical trials was to protect the most vulnerable (i.e. not kids) as fast as possible, so the clinical trials were set up to prioritize adults. However, there are several trials of vaccination in children. That being said, the best way to help the kids is to get the community transmission down, which vaccinating all the adults will help to do. She did also mention that they will vaccinate all the way down to age 16 for medically fragile people, and to stay tuned for information on that.

Q: You said that if someone eligible called this week, they’d get a vaccination next week, but some seniors got appointments today, what’s up with that? A: In some of those cases, there were mobility issues which meant they needed to be vaccinated at home, and there happened to be mobile availability today. In other cases, there were clinics for health care workers which happened to have some slots, so they were sent there.

Q: Aren’t you worried about people gaming the system? A: No, most people are good. And if you call for an appointment and you are underage, you just won’t get a spot. And we have some controls to make sure that doesn’t happen. Note that he didn’t say the obvious thing: we’ll check your birthday against the records, check your face against your driver’s license, and check that you look old enough. A 21 year-old will not be able to take a 93 year-old’s spot.


Apparently, the clinic I heard about on Friday was part of Ph2, not part of the occupation-based stream. Everything official that I hear says that the SII/AZ doses are not here yet, so I must have misunderstood what my source told me.