Individuals who will be turning 80 and older can book vaccine appointments through the Ontario government’s online booking system and customer service desk that launched on Monday morning. (iStock/Inside Creative House)

Ontario launches online booking system for COVID-19 vaccines

The Ontario government launched the provincial online booking system and customer service desk Monday morning, meaning that individuals who will be turning 80 and older can now book vaccine appointments at mass immunization clinics.

In a press release on Sunday, the Ontario government said when booking an appointment, individuals will be asked for information from their green Ontario health card, birth date, postal code and email address or phone number. Eligible individuals will also schedule their first and second vaccination appointments at the time of their booking.

People who have a red and white health card or require help with booking can call the province’s vaccine information line, which is 1-888-999-6488, starting Monday as well.

“We are making steady progress in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan, and the launching of the online booking system is another major milestone,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement on Sunday.

“In this phase of our plan we are still offering vaccines to our most vulnerable, so I encourage everyone aged 80 and older to use the portal to book an appointment,” Ford said.

“For everyone else, please be patient, as we get more supply, the vaccine will be offered to more people.”

So far, vaccination appointments are only available for individuals turning 80 or older in 2021 as part of the province’s first phase of vaccine distribution. In April, the online booking tool and call centre will expand to additional age groups when the province enters its second phase of vaccine distribution.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford arrives to deliver a message at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

In its press release, the province said that it is expecting its online booking to receive a high volume of traffic and asked that people who are not eligible to book an appointment for the vaccine to avoid accessing the site or calling the service desk.

“The introduction of these booking systems puts in place the final piece in the province’s infrastructure to rollout its vaccination program,” said Retired General Rick Hillier.

“There is now a fulsome range of options for the people of Ontario to book an appointment and receive their vaccine, but please only use them if and when it is your turn.”

Ontario says it is expecting to receive 870,480 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 483,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine for the month of March and has already received 194,500 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine during the week on March 8.

As of Sunday, over one million vaccines had been administered in the province, including over 127,000 doses given to long-term care home residents, and over 285,000 Ontarians are fully immunized.

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