We acknowledge that there have been some issues with the vaccine rollout this week, and we apologize to anyone who was delayed in booking an appointment, or who waited in a long line to get their vaccination.
AHS has taken a number of steps to improve the experience for those wanting to book an appointment, and, for those who are visiting an immunization site to receive their vaccination.
AHS added additional staff and signage at sites to encourage people with appointments to wait in their vehicles until their appointment times – people shouldn’t have to wait in long lines.
Each appointment is booked in 10-minute increments. This helps ensure we can maintain social distancing at all immunization clinics. We may need to expand these appointments to ensure enough time to address the questions of each Albertan.
On Feb. 25, we saw that some individuals are arriving at appointments 30 – 60 minutes in advance, and as a result, wait lines are forming outside some of the facilities.
We understand their desire to be on-time – for many people, getting their first dose is an exciting day – but this is why we have an appointment system.
We have added “greeters” at our busiest sites, to explain the process when they pull into the parking lot, and to encourage them to stay in their cars until five minutes before their appointment.
We also ask that, for people who are comfortable going into the site alone, please don’t bring a support person or family member with you. We have staff inside who can help and assist you.
We are looking at expediting more sites, particularly in Edmonton. This will also help spread the crowds around.
The site has stabilized significantly since Feb. 24, and people are having a much easier and less frustrating experience.
The fact is, we had 150,000 people try to access that tool all at once, as soon as it went live. We had robustly tested the tool, but we did not expect that many people to go to it right away.
We worked hard on Feb. 25, and again Feb. 26, to fix the problems. We increased server capacity, we added Health Link phone lines and staff, we added a queuing tool to ease demand, and these strategies have helped significantly.