COVID-19: Booking mix-up tells Penticton residents to get vaccinated in Kelowna

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Interior Health is clearing up confusion after some eligible Penticton, B.C., residents were told to get their COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna, B.C., an hour’s drive away.

Residents who contacted Global News said they were surprised they were unable to get an appointment at the local clinic, which is being held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, discouraged regional travel on Monday, even using the example that Penticton residents should not travel to Kelowna right now, due to rising case counts of COVID-19 and the highly-transmissible variants of concern spreading in communities.

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The regional health authority said the booking issue was due to an error as it “de-listed” some clinics from its booking system to prevent overbooking.

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However, by de-listing clinics, the community clinics disappeared from the screens of call centre agents who used the tool to see where clinics were located.

“In some cases, the public was incorrectly told clinics do not exist in their community,” Interior Health said in a statement.

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“We have since re-listed all communities to ensure the call centre agent’s resources are accurate, and taken a different approach to prevent overbooking. However, if all available appointments in a community have been booked, it will not be visible for people to book until more appointments are added.”

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The health authority noted current clinics in Penticton are fully booked, but it continues to add more appointments and people should be able to book later Wednesday.

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All eligible British Columbians can book online (or by phone) through the provincial system by visiting

People register first and are then notified when they can book and they can do that online.

Those born in 1966 (55-plus) are eligible to register for a vaccine in B.C. under the province’s age-based system.

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Whole community clinics for anyone 18-plus are ongoing in some rural and remote communities, and a parallel pharmacy program is underway for those aged 55-65.

Those in the age demographic can receive a dose of the AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine at eligible pharmacies with vaccine supply.

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For more information, visit Interior Health’s COVID-19 immunization booking website. 

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