Tech issues with Saskatchewan COVID-19 vaccine booking system resolved

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: After early hiccups, child vaccination booking back online in Saskatchewan'
COVID-19: After early hiccups, child vaccination booking back online in Saskatchewan
WATCH: As Saskatchewan prepares to immunize kids aged five to 11, technical issues interfered with its booking system Tuesday morning but have been resolved – Nov 23, 2021

While Saskatchewan is preparing to immunize kids aged five to 11 years old, technical issues interfered with its COVID-19 vaccine booking system on Tuesday morning.

Sheila Anderson, vaccine chief in Saskatchewan Health Authority’s emergency operation centre, offered an apology during a briefing.

“I know it was a really exciting morning for many parents, caregivers and guardians who wanted to book their loved ones in, so apologies that the system wasn’t operating as expected,” Anderson said.

A high volume of traffic experienced Tuesday morning caused online booking system slowdowns. Over 12,000 appointments were booked for pediatric vaccinations between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Delivery of pediatric vaccines is underway with the SHA planning to offer immunizations in 141 communities across the province, in over 100 schools and through specialized clinics.

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“There was about a 30-minute downtime related to high traffic on the site. The system was down, and when it was down, the public would have experienced an error message,” Anderson said.

The technical issues have been resolved, she said, and the system is operating as expected now.

“We worked with the vendor, [and] had the fix taken care of really, really quickly,” Anderson said.

The SHA is working with the vendor and monitoring the booking system closely.

“We don’t anticipate that problem to happen again,” Anderson said.

“We certainly go through a really rigorous testing process and we have put in all of our, all of those processes in place prior to going live today. In fact, teams were up very early this morning testing the system again.”

The booking system has performed well over the whole course of the vaccination campaign, she added.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Provinces across Canada to start vaccinating kids aged 5-11'
COVID-19: Provinces across Canada to start vaccinating kids aged 5-11

In addition, SHA’s phone line — 1-833-Sask-VAX (727-5829) — also had an issue, when dead air, rather than music played for waiting callers.

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“If there’s anyone from the public out there who may have experienced some issues just for a short time on SASKVAX, we’re asking them to call back as well, too,” Anderson said.

There are over 40,000 appointments available, Anderson said, encouraging continued booking.

“Thanks to all of the many parents out there who eagerly anticipated access to the booking system and made efforts to book appointments, and have booked appointments actually today, through the online service as well as SASKVAX,” SHA’s chief of emergency operations Derek Miller said.

“We intend to make things as easy as possible, as people are familiar with earlier in the vaccine campaign so that people can find where they can get the vaccine closest to them.”

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