As Ontario opened second-dose COVID-19 vaccination bookings Monday, many faced difficulties finding appointments and social media was flooded with complaints about the process being a “mess” and comparable to the Hunger Games.
Second dose vaccine booking through Ontario’s portal has been an absolute mess this morning!
— linda haslett (@lindahaslett) June 14, 2021
— Sarah (@sarahU277) June 14, 2021
Many faced hours long waits in a virtual queue only to be told no appointments were available in their area. Others complained they simply could not reschedule their second dose for an earlier date.
Waited a whole hour for Ontario to tell me "nah can't reschedule your second dose". smh
— 29 in 2 (@npcfmtorres) June 14, 2021
This is going to be a long day ???? pic.twitter.com/Mx5J5BVCD6
— Amber LeBlanc (@Amber680NEWS) June 14, 2021
Along with long waits, many said appointments close to where they live were nearly impossible to find. Some were even booted out of the system and had to start again at the back of the queue.
Went through the Ontario site to book a second dose. Couldn't get one after waiting an hour. Got booted and now I'm in queue again.
My shock level that Ontario government clusterfucked this one too is zero.#onpoli
— Smartassicus (@Smartassicus) June 14, 2021
Spent over an hour waiting on the Ontario covid website to book a second dose only to finally get in and have it tell me the only places close to me are over an hour drive away. Amazing system.
— Textual Tyrannosaurus (@flexrock) June 14, 2021
Hey, can anyone from the Ontario government explain why there are ZERO appointments available in Niagara? My 71 year old, diabetic father, would like to book his second dose but there is nothing, absolutely nothing, available.
— Mikki (@MikkiCZ) June 14, 2021
As of Monday, those who got their first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine became eligible to book their second shot after eight weeks, instead of the earlier minimum wait time of 12 weeks.
In addition, people who live in regions where the Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading and who received their first shot on or before May 9 could make an appointment for their second dose.
However meeting eligibility criteria seemingly did not go hand in hand with appointment availability.
The Ontario second dose online booking system is absolutely horrendous! I’ve waited hours only to have to refresh, find a location, book a time only for it to be already taken ????
— Melissa Emilee (@melissa_emilee) June 14, 2021
Health Minister Christine Elliott acknowledged the difficulties people were having, but encouraged Ontarians to keep trying to book, saying more appointments should open up later in the day.
Health Minister Christine Elliott is urging people to keep trying to book second dose vaccination appointments, she acknowledges there aren't a lot of appointments right now but says more should open up this afternoon. #onpoli pic.twitter.com/ZeESDziRuj
— Cynthia Mulligan (@CityCynthia) June 14, 2021
The province’s booking portal experienced similar issues when it first launched in March and at the time, users were asked to call the province’s phone line to book instead.
Despite the issues, the Ministry of Health said nearly 100,000 vaccine appointments were successfully booked as of 12 p.m. through the provincial booking system.
“We know that appointments in some Public Health Units (PHUs) have booked up quickly and we continue to work with the PHUs to bring more appointments online,” the ministry said in a statement to CityNews. “We ask everyone to be patient as more appointments are brought online by PHUs.”
Further, additional vaccine doses will be provided to PHUs in Delta variant hotspots once they exhaust their local inventory.
The ministry added that appointments are also still available through pharmacies and pop-up clinics.