N.S. vaccination booking process still has some wrinkles to be ironed out
HALIFAX -- On a day when Nova Scotians over 80 years old are getting the COVID-19 vaccine, others are still waiting to get their appointments.
98-year-old Mildred Carmichael got her shot at the IWK clinic Monday afternoon.
"We really feel like it was divine intervention. Someone was looking after us to have this happen today," Sandra Barry said, Carmichael's daughter.
Barry and her brother spent more than four hours last Monday to register their mother for an appointment. It took fewer than 30 minutes for her to be dropped off, taken to the clinic and back to the car.
"I feel A-1," Carmichael said afterward. "Just listen to your caregivers and go."
The booking process has been a lot bumpier.
Kevin Potter failed to secure his in-law's a vaccine appointment last week so at 7 a.m. Monday morning, he tried again. The website first told him he had a two-minute wait, until the wait time climbed and eventually landed at 18 minutes.
"And that went for another two hours saying it would be another 18 minutes to get through," Potter said.
Potter said he nearly gave up until his friend told him she was able to get through to book for her relative. After 2.5 hours, he said he was able to book an appointment for his mother-in-law, but his father-in-law will have to wait.
New rules announced Friday mean current appointment bookings are reserved for people over 80 whose birthdays are between January 1 and April 30.
Marla MacInnis, spokesperson with the Department of Health and Wellness said the province broke up the age group over 80 into three groups to ensure that people don't spend lengthy periods of time trying to book online.
"While today's appointments were for those born between January 1 and April 30, appointments for the other two groups will open later this month," MacInnis said.
Gregory Frechette believes the rules around booking are beyond frustrating.
"It's disheartening," he said from Montreal. He logged on early Monday morning in an effort to book appointments for both his parents who are over 80, and was unaware of the new rule that he could only book if his parents are born from January to April.
Frechette said his 80-year-old mother who is healthy and born in February can get an appointment now, but his father who is 85 and has heart issues will have to wait because his birthday is in December.
"How did they determine that booking by month of birth was a fair way of doing it and why two people at the same residence at this age category can't be booked together?" Frechette said.
On Monday afternoon, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced vaccine clinics are nearly fully booked and more appointments will be released for Nova Scotians aged 80 and older who are born between January and April.