Alberta Health Minister updates COVID-19 vaccine rollout at pharmacies | LIVE

Alberta Health Minister updates COVID-19 vaccine rollout at pharmacies | LIVE

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro and officials will provide an update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution through community pharmacies.

Shandro’s announcement Wednesday comes on the same day COVID-19 vaccines became available to all Albertans over the age of 75.

As anticipated, the demand for the vaccination appointments was extremely high.

Alberta Health Services opened its phone lines and online vaccination booking tool for community seniors born in 1946 or earlier at 8 a.m. Within minutes, Albertans began reporting issues with the site crashing or not loading, and a busy signal when calling 811 to book appointments.

In a statement on Twitter, AHS said it was “experiencing very high volumes with the AHS COVID-19 immunization booking tool.”

AHS went on to say that the tool remains live. Those having trouble accessing the site are asked to keep trying.

A statement from AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson issued just before 8:30 a.m. went on to say that several hundred appointments were successfully booked already.

“Traffic is very high on (the) network that leads into the booking system. We urge everyone to be patient,” Williamson said.

By 9:14 a.m., AHS said 4,000 Albertans had successfully booked their appointment. By 9:37 a.m., more than 6,000 appointments had been booked.

“We anticipate Alberta having enough appointments for all seniors age 75 and older early in April,” AHS said on Twitter. “Please be patient as we anticipate high demand for appointments over the next several days. Extra staff is on hand at 811 to manage the added call volumes.”

AHS and local police urged people not to call 911, hospitals or clinics directly to book appointments.

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