Nova Scotia’s vaccination registration website.
Nova Scotia’s vaccination registration website.

If you’ve spent the day trying to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment for someone 80 or older without success, you’re not alone.

The third-party server responsible for booking the online appointments has been disabled, and the provincial Department of Health and Wellness isn’t sure exactly when it’ll be back online.

Social media has been abuzz today as frustrated seniors and their friends and family members try to access the site. Someone booking an appointment for a neighbour told the Halifax Examiner she’d been trying for hours only to be met with the message “This page is currently not available. Please try again later,” or “Your estimated wait time is unavailable.”

“We are experiencing a high volume of traffic on the website at this time. You will be provided access to the booking page in priority sequence. This will ensure you have the best possible online experience,” a recent visit to the site noted.

Anyone who is 80 years old as of March 1 is eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination. Booking opened today March 1 for clinics at the IWK Health Centre, the Canada Games Complex at CBU in Sydney, NSCC in Truro, and the New Minas Baptist Church. Those clinics all have start dates of March 8.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Wellness said in an email that CanImmunize (the third party platform overseeing the booking) alerted them earlier today to “extremely high traffic on the site.”

“They are investigating the cause of the slow down. As a precaution, the site has been disabled until they can resolve the issue,” spokesperson Marla MacInnis said via email.

“Once the site is online, we will advise Nova Scotians through government social media channels.”

MacInnis said CanImmunize is working to resolve the issue “ASAP today.”

The phone lines have been overwhelmed but people are getting through to book appointments. We appreciate everyone’s patience,” she said.

Update:

At 6 p.m., MacInnis provided an update, noting the booking site is now operational.

“The impact to the booking site was due to extremely high user traffic,” she wrote in an email.

“CanImmunize has been increasing capacity to the booking site throughout the afternoon.”

Yvette d'Entremont

Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor, covering the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues. Twitter @ydentremont

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5 Comments

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  1. I would call this situation a SNAFU a BIG TIME SNAFU
    & due to

    *** excessively poor planning
    *** very poor communication about the process .. I like many are/were waiting for ” that damn letter ” but others just heard March 1 and started calling at 7 am .. likely never having received the ” damn letter ”
    **** excessive SELF-INTEREST
    TIM might if he so chooses to ask ??? about this at today’d briefing

  2. Boy do I feel silly. I read the press release that said letters would be sent out to people over 80 and thought once we got the letter we would all wait our turn after getting the letter. Now my 97 year old mother in law will be waiting. Kind of hoped she would be one of the first in line.

  3. Well that’s disappointing. I would have hoped they (NS Health & Wellness and its contracted service provider) had taken all prudent precautions to guard against this experience, given that it happened elsewhere and that those other events were well publicized.