‘We’re prepared.’ Ontario vows vaccine booking system, launching Monday, will handle demand

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Ontario vows that a vaccine booking website launching Monday morning will be up to the task of handling the high demand of eligible applications.

The new portal, which goes live at 8 a.m., will only be available to people who are turning 80 or older this year, Premier Doug Ford said at a rare Sunday briefing, adding that early tests have been “seamless.”

The province has gone to great lengths to ensure the system is robust and can maximize vaccinations, according to retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province’s vaccine distribution task force.

“We’ve done the initial work,” Hillier said. “We’re prepared to ramp up even further if necessary, or if the call centre doesn’t get that many calls, we’ll ramp back down when it’s appropriate.”

More than 2,200 operators will be answering calls, at the capacity of about 10,000 calls per hour, Hillier said, emphasizing that it’s about two to three times the capacity of Quebec and California.

Online, there are more than 800,000 appointments available. And since Friday, the province has used an online system to book more than 15,000 appointments for Toronto Public Health “without a flaw,” he said.