Parents who wish to reserve more than one child for a COVID-19 vaccine can use the provincial hotline to make appointments, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday amid concerns about difficulties with the online system.
His advice came after the NDP revealed that many parents were unable to obtain consecutive appointments for their children through the province offices. online portal as stocks for the Pfizer vaccine opened for ages five to 11.
The problem has left moms and dads busy with appointments for their children at different times, on different days and in different places, accused new Democratic MP Catherine Fife (Waterloo) in the legislature’s daily question period, calling the problem a a “design flaw”.
“This chaos could have been avoided,” said Fife. “Correct this.”
Elliott responded with a suggestion to use the provincial hotline at 1-833-943-3900.
“This is a problem that can be easily remedied by calling the always-able line and making appointments for the two, three children, no matter how many children you have,” she said.
“There are also parts of Ontario where some of the 34 public health units already have their own system that will allow multiple vaccines.”
About 84,000 appointments were scheduled at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Elliott’s press secretary said.
“The reservation system is working well,” said Alexandra Hilkene. “This does not include public health units with their own reservation systems or other channels that use their own reservation systems, such as pharmacies.”
Fife said the limitation in the provincial online system should have been anticipated long ago and corrected after children between the ages of 12 and 17 became eligible for vaccines.
Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said Elliott’s response was “completely irresponsible” and shows “a distinct lack of competency, basic management competence from (Prime Minister) Doug Ford and his team.”
In British Columbia, families had been ordered to register their children for vaccinations before the vaccine was approved for use, something Ontario did not do, and to reserve a one-time appointment for all of their children.
A mother from the greater Toronto area took to Twitter to express her frustration at the situation.
“I used the York region site and had to go back to the beginning for each of the three little ones,” said Diane Fassel. “How could they not have anticipated multiples?”
Others questioned why Elliott did not provide the advice on Monday, when it announced that reservations could be made starting Tuesday.
“We should have made sure the reservation system accommodated families of all sizes,” said Green Leader Mike Schreiner.
Elliott’s office said the province has nearly 1.1 million pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is enough for every five to 11-year-old child in the province.
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