Montrealers who are 65 and older can now register for their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine but some are having trouble accessing the online system.
Éric Forest, a spokesperson for the city’s public health department, told Global News that the system was down in the morning, but that authorities are working to get it back up and running.
He says there will be hundreds of available time slots from now until April for Montrealers looking to book their appointment.
As of Friday afternoon, however, the province’s health ministry issued a statement on social media that said the online platform was still experiencing technical difficulties.
The drop in age limit, which came into effect on Friday, comes as the province’s inoculation rollout continues to gain steam.
As of this week, any senior who is 70 and older in Quebec can book an appointment for the vaccine. Montreal, which has been hard hit by the pandemic, is the first region to see the age minimum drop to 65.
Under the plan, more than 300 pharmacies in the city will also start accepting registrations next week in an effort to quick the pace of vaccinations. Montrealers will be able to get vaccinated at pharmacies beginning March 22.
“They really seem to be speeding it up a lot faster. It’s really going well,” said William Rutledge, a senior from Pointe-Claire.
Quebec has administered more than 600,000 vaccine doses to date. In March, the province expanded its campaign to include the public in a goal to vaccinate as many elderly people as possible.
On Friday, Health Minister Christian Dubé reminded those who have received a first dose that they must continue to follow public health measures.
“All Quebecers, vaccinated or not, must continue to make efforts if we want to avoid a new increase in cases and outbreaks,” Dubé wrote on Twitter.
Premier François Legault told reporters this week his hope is that once those over 65 are vaccinated, more health orders could be relaxed, including the ban on indoor private gatherings.
Anyone who is eligible for their first dose can register online by visiting the province’s registration website. Booking an appointment is necessary, the province said.
Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-877-644-4545 to book their first dose. This option is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends.
— With files from Global News’ Tim Sargeant and The Canadian PressView link »