Ontario’s online portal where people from the general population can book their COVID-19 vaccine appointment will be launched on March 15, and will start by allowing people 80 and over to register first.
Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that the province is “furiously working” to launch the online and telephone booking system in order to start vaccinating people in the general population.
“Our plan is in place, we’re rolling it out,” Hillier told reporters. “We are now furiously working to do the final stages of preparation to test [the booking system] thoroughly and then to go live with on the 15th of March.”
Once the platform is launched, people 80 and older in Ontario can begin booking their appointments starting on March 22. On April 15, people over the age of 75 will be able to book. On May 1, people over the age of 70 will get access, June 1, people aged 65 and over can book an appointment and on July 1, booking will be open for people 60 and over.
Hillier warned that people should not try to access the website outside of their given timeframe as they will not be able to use the system.
“Stay off the online reservation system, please, and stay off the customer service desk call center,” he stressed.
Essential workers will likely be able to book their appointments and receive their first doses during the first week of May if supply of the vaccine to the province runs smoothly, Hillier said, adding that the decision regarding who qualifies for the vaccine in that category will come from cabinet.
He said he could not provide a timeline on when people of other groups will be able to get their vaccine despite the federal government’s timeline of providing a shot to everyone who wants one by the end September. Hillier said its all dependent on the vaccine supply that Canada gets, and possible interruptions with that supply.
“We don’t need to answer it right now. Early summer, I think, is when we’d be starting to discuss that issue and see if we were getting to a point where we could actually just go straight through the population,” Hillier said.
“Our challenge now is that we still have relatively small numbers [of vaccines], and we still have large numbers of those in most vulnerable circumstances.”