Premier John Horgan addressed the challenges that British Columbians faced while trying to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment on Monday, adding that he was “profoundly disappointed.”
More than 1.7 million calls were received at COVID-19 call centres by 10 am across the province. At the end of the day, 14,949 appointments were booked but only 369 of those were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
Horgan said that he and the provincial government “take full responsibility” for Monday’s results and that they’re working to rectify the situation. He also added that they had a “failure of a contractor.”
“Certainly we’re disappointed with the results in Coastal Health,” he told reporters. “That’s the responsibility of the government to make sure we have the right people and infrastructure in place.”
“We’re taking steps, as you’ve heard from Minister Dix and others, to correct that today and throughout the rest of the week and indeed throughout the rollout of the vaccination program.”
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Horgan also likened the rollout of BC’s COVID-19 vaccination program to the booking system for the BC Parks network, noting that the experience would only help the provincial government going forward.
“We had 1.7 million calls yesterday at the same time we were opening up BC Parks,” he explained. “The BC Parks network worked very effectively because we had the experience of last year to fall back on. We now have the experience of yesterday in Vancouver Coastal. We have positive outcomes in Fraser Health.”
“We are having the health authorities talk to each other, [Dix] is overseeing that with Dr. Penny Ballum and Dr. Bonnie Henry to make sure that we correct the shortcomings of yesterday so that we’re better tomorrow.”
The premier said that there “will be some bumps along the road” but that the “good news” is that Monday was “day one” and there are many days ahead of us.