Mar 15, 2021

By Christine Ross

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Doug Ford says he ‘respectfully disagrees’ there are major glitches with the new provincial online vaccine booking portal and says by noon Monday, thousands had no issues.

“We were all nervous when it went online, but so far, I heard around noon, over 45,000 people booked and on the telephone line, they’re taking care of approximately 375 people a minute,” said Ford speaking at a vaccine clinic in Cobourg.

But despite his rosy update, Ford says he’ll check in with technical support to work out any glitches. He also urges people to call the hotline if they’re having trouble booking online.The number’s 1-888-999-6488.

Although 150 mass immunization clinics will open across the province this month, Ford is worried about supply from the federal government. Ontario has the capacity to vaccinate 4.8-million-a-month but current supply is only 1.5-million monthly.

Two of Ontario’s 34 health units are reporting problems with the launch of the province’s vaccine booking system including the Simcoe-Muskoka Health Unit where some got error messages indicating no local appointments were available for the region.

Bill Van Gorder, interim chief policy officer for CARP on told Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer, he was alerted to the problem by a CARP member in Barrie.

“Apparently, the Simco-Muskoka location is not online yet, and that means people get a message that there are no appointments but by the end of today, they hope to have that connection made and there will be appointments they tell us available to people at that time.”

Meantime, Doug Ford says the head of Ontario’s vaccine task force retired general Rick Hillier, will be leaving the job in a few weeks.

“He’s done such a great job heading all this up and we only get to keep him for a couple more weeks, I think I’m going to put a ball and chain around his ankle,” joked Ford.

Hillier’s contract expires March 31. The province faced criticism about the slow rollout of vaccinations under Hillier’s leadership but Ford has said it’s all based on supplies from the federal government.

Ford also says Hillier’s promise that every Ontarian should have their first dose of the vaccine by June 20 remains the government’s target, depending on supply.

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