A group of four public health experts and a Toronto city councillor have asked Ontario’s provincial government to let everyone pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
In an open letter released Wednesday, they ask the province to consider allowing people to submit their date of birth, postal code, email address, and phone number to be notified by the government when it’s their turn to book a vaccine appointment.
“While the vaccine roll-out offers an end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, too many Ontarians who have yet to be eligible for the current phase of the vaccination plan are left feeling anxious about when, and how they’ll learn that their turn will finally come,” the letter reads.
It’s signed by councillor Josh Matlow, Dr. Samir K. Sinha, University Health Network’s Tai Huynh, and Dr. Nathan Stall.
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) April 14, 2021
They argue this strategy would put the onus on the province to keep individuals informed of when it’s their turn, rather than push responsibility to individuals to keep up to date with news about where and when they can get vaccinated.
Vaccine eligibility is currently being rolled out in parallel streams, where people can become eligible based on their age, where they live, health conditions they have, or their occupation.
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In some cases, people need to register for an appointment differently depending on which category they’re eligible under. For example, everyone over 60 can book via the provincial booking system, but people aged 55 to 59 can also get a shot of AstraZeneca from their local pharmacy.
People age 50 to 59 from certain postal codes can also book via the provincial system, but people from those same postal codes who are 49 or younger need to wait for a pop-up clinic that’s not bookable on the province’s system.
The letter-writers say a province-wide registry could also gather valuable data about vaccine demand by area to allow officials to tackle vaccine hesitancy.