COVID-19 vaccines: Phone lines jammed as 1.7 million calls made to register for appointment in B.C.
VANCOUVER -- B.C. opened its phone lines Monday to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for some of the most elderly residents in the province.
But not long after call centres opened at 7 a.m., reports came in suggesting lines were jammed.
During a morning news conference, Health Minister Adrian Dix said about 1.7 million calls were received before 10 a.m.
In the current vaccine phase, appointments are only available to those 90 and older and Indigenous people who are 65 and older.
Dix said B.C. has about 47,000 B.C. residents who are 90 and older and about 35,000 Indigenous people aged 65 and older. Some of those people have already received vaccines, he pointed out.
"I very much appreciate the enthusiasm of everybody calling in, but I would ask that people allow those who are eligible this week to book appointments, to have priority," Dix said, adding that for those who aren't eligible or who aren't calling on behalf of those who are, "this is not the time to call in."
"Obviously that is a massive number of phone calls," Dix said. "If that were to continue, obviously no phone system would respond to that."
As well, a website dedicated to booking appointments in the Fraser Health region appeared to not work for a few minutes in the morning.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.