Long wait times, dropped calls reported in Prince Rupert vaccine bookings

Joshua Azizi
03/12/2021

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Northern Health's phone line for booking vaccinations in Prince Rupert opened at 7 AM today, but it didn't take long before the line became overwhelmed. 

On social media, multiple people reported difficulties in trying to book appointments, including dropped calls and wait times that stretched on for hours.

Prince Rupert resident Karen Myers told CFTK news she called the booking line early to schedule appointments for herself and her husband because her husband is flying to Vancouver on Wednesday for cancer treatment. Hours later, she still wasn't able to get through.

"I phoned right at 7:00, and I was number 88 in the queue. At 9:00 I was number one, and the caller answered the phone and said 'Northern Health, how may I help you?' and then the line disconnected. I tried for 15 minutes to get through again and I kept getting a message saying 'this number cannot be completed as dialed,' and then I would get through and it would say, 'we're too busy, please call later.' 

"Finally after 15 minutes I got through, and I was number 330. So I stayed on the phone from 9:15 to 12:00, when I was number six, and I was disconnected again."

Myers was eventually able to book her vaccination at 2 PM.

Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins said Northern Health received a significant number of calls when the call centre opened today, and that they're working to improve the line's capacity and wait times. 

She suggested people try phoning a later time, adding that the line will be open seven days a week for 12 hours a day. 

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