COVID-19 vaccines: Online booking system to launch as B.C. moves to Phase 3 of its rollout

B.C. is moving into Phase 3 of its vaccine rollout and launching a province-wide online booking system as variants of concern make up a rising number of cases.

So far, the Fraser Health region has been the only area where residents could book an appointment online. People in other regions had to book their appointments by phone.

But on Tuesday, registration will be available online for all eligible British Columbians at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.

The province is also launching a single call centre, rather than having individual ones available for each health authority. That number is 1-833-838-2323.

Neither the phone number or website will be active before April 6, however, and registration is still expected to be divided by ages. On Tuesday, people aged 71 and older and Indigenous people aged 18 and older can register for a dose. Appointments for people who are 16 to 74 and are considered clinically extremely vulnerable will also be available.

“We encourage everyone in B.C. to get their vaccine at their first opportunity, when it is their turn,” said Minister of Health Adrian Dix in a news release.

The changes in the vaccine rollout come as B.C. is managing a surge in infections. The province surpassed 1,000 cases three times last week. To help curb the spread, pharmacies began administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to people between the ages of 55 and 65.

“We have worked diligently and tirelessly to get this online registration, booking and tracking system ready for British Columbians,” said Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead of B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization program, in the release.

“I want to thank the regional health authorities for delivering the clinics. Now, with the help of the new online and single phone number system, we’re ready to move onto the next phase of the largest vaccination program in B.C. history.”

So far, 770,000 British Columbians have received their first dose of the vaccine, the province says.

With files from The Canadian Press