Ontario's vaccine booking portal sees appointments double after passport announcement

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TORONTO - Ontario's health minister says COVID-19 vaccine bookings through the province's portal more than doubled on the day the government announced its vaccine certificate system.

Christine Elliott did not provide the exact number of new bookings, and her spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Elliott says on Twitter that nearly half of the people getting vaccinated today are receiving their first dose.

Her statement comes a day after the province announced that Ontarians will have to show proof of inoculation to access some non-essential services, such as theatres, gyms and restaurant dining rooms.

The province's vaccine certificate program, which comes into effect on Sept. 22, offers an exemption for Ontarians who cannot receive the shot for medical reasons.

The CEO of Ontario's medical regulator is urging doctors in the province to be judicious about handing out those exemptions.