Former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre’s tweet saying he got help from the Quebec health minister’s office to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment for his senior parents was ill-received by the public on Thursday.
Coderre personally thanked Health Minister Christian Dubé and his team for helping him with a technical issue with the booking, saying the situation was resolved for him in under two minutes.
Reaction to the tweet came quickly, with some calling it a blatant admission of using his status and contacts for preferential treatment. One person asked Coderre if he could share Dubé’s phone number.
“It’s a shame you are bragging about that,” one user wrote.
“Not cool Mr. Coderre…wait on the phone or go online like everyone else…I wouldn’t be boasting about this,” said another.
Another user accused Dubé of prioritizing his friend instead of the public. When asked about Coderre’s tweet at Thursday’s press briefing, Dubé said there was no favouritism at all.
“You should see the number of calls we received this morning. We are being agile and answering calls and questions quickly,” he added.
Thursday was the first day Quebec began accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccine for all people ages 85 and older.
Health officials said more than 70,000 seniors called or headed online before noon to book their first shot.
“We are very, very happy about the vaccination rollout,” Dubé said. He also asked people under the age of 85 not to make an appointment for now, so as not to clog the phone line, which experienced temporary difficulties Thursday morning.
He also stressed that Quebecers should opt to register for their first shot on the web platform set up to make appointments. He said Clic Santé can process up to 12.5 appointments per second.
— with files from Kalina Laframboise, Global News