Interior Health residents trying to book COVID-19 vaccines were met with busy lines on day one of bookings. (Dan Ferguson - Black Press Media)

Interior Health residents trying to book COVID-19 vaccines were met with busy lines on day one of bookings. (Dan Ferguson - Black Press Media)

Interior Health apologizes for people getting a busy signal on first day of vaccine appointments

People report being left on hold for hours or being cut off after being on hold

While Interior Health did manage to book 2,456 appointments on the first day phone lines were opened, more people than not found themselves on hold for hours or getting a busy signal.

Interior Health took to Facebook to apologize for phone lines carrying a busy signal. The problem of seniors not being able to get through the phone lines was across B.C., as 1.4 million calls came in the first 90 minutes.

That is far more people than are eligible for a vaccine, showing that some are trying to jump the queue.

“We hear your concerns about troubles with phone lines today and we thank you for your patience. Only seniors 90+ and Aboriginal Peoples 65+ are eligible at this time,” said Interior Health.

“No other age groups should be calling. Everyone who is eligible to book a vaccination appointment will be able to book one.

Nobody will miss their chance. If it’s not your turn yet, please wait until you’re eligible to call in. This allows us to vaccinate the most vulnerable first.

There’s no rush – you can call anytime this week for seniors who are 90+ and Aboriginal Peoples 65+. There are many appointments available. More age groups will become eligible over the coming weeks and month.”

READ MORE: About 15,000 COVID-19 shots booked on Day 1 in B.C., more than half in Fraser Health

One person responded to Interior Health saying they spent four hours on hold.

“After trying constantly from 7 a.m., I got through just before 4 p.m. Now I have been on hold for over an hour. Guessing I will likely time out when they close at 7 p.m. If a business was run like this, it would go bankrupt.”

Another person commented that Alberta is already onto second doses for this age group. What is taking B.C. so long, she asked.

Call centres are experiencing a large influx of calls. More than 1.4 million calls in the first 90 minutes, which is far more than the number of seniors who are eligible to book their vaccine appointment.

Despite the issues, Health Minister Adrian Dix tweeted that 2,456 immunization appointments were booked in Interior Health by the end of the day.

B.C government is asking people to follow these rules:

Please help the most at-risk get through to book their appointment by:

• Don’t have more than one person calling on behalf of an eligible senior.

• Remember you can call later in the week and you won’t miss your turn. All 5 call centres are open 7am to 7pm PST/PDT, 7 days a week and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on holidays.

• If you get a busy tone or “call cannot be completed as dialled” message, please call back a few hours later or the next day.

• Wait until it’s your turn to book — if you are not eligible, you won’t be able to book an appointment.

READ MORE: Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

To report a typo, email:
twila.amato@blackpress.ca
.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Wildfire Service crew member Josh Hutchinson participated in a controlled burn above the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds on Tuesday, April 20 that was conducted in concert with the Williams Lake Fire Department. It was a good weather day for the burn, as on Wednesday, April 21, the BCWS is urging caution, with strong winds in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday for the region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cariboo Fire Centre urges caution against outdoor burning due to strong winds forecast

Public, industry asked to consider postponing burning until calmer weather

Taseko's Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake gave 40 layoff-notices Tuesday, April 20. (Photo submitted)
Gibraltar Mine laying off 40 to 60 workers, awaiting permission to reopen existing pit

“It’s unacceptable,” said Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Members from the BC Wildfire Service and the Williams Lake Fire Department are conducting controlled burns at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds and at Boitanio Park today, April 20, in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Fire department, wildfire service, conducting controlled burns in Boitanio Park, Stampede Grounds April 20

Locations include at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds and in Boitanio Park

Smoke rising from a slash pile near Canim-Hendrix Road on Tuesday, April 20. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Blaze on Canim-Hendrix Lake Road a false alarm

The smoke was coming from a legal under-control slash pile

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Playland at the PNE is set to reopen this May, with COVID-19 health and safety measures approved by the province. (Website/Playland)
VIDEO: Playland at PNE scheduled to reopen this May to masked customers

British Columbians are discouraged from travelling outside of their local health authority to visit the theme park

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

Most Read