OPINION: British Columbians deserve a smooth, efficient vaccine rollout


BC Liberal MLA for Fraser-Nicola  

WHEN it comes to B.C.’s vaccine rollout, British Columbians need clarity and competence from their government. They need an administration that can implement the processes required to book vaccinations in a timely and efficient manner. 

The NDP had a year to prepare for this, and had promised a seamless and smooth system that would efficiently book appointments starting with our most vulnerable seniors. Unfortunately the system didn’t get off on the best foot when the lines opened on Monday, March 11th. 

The call centres in the five health authorities received one million calls in the first hour after opening. In less than three hours, 1.7 million calls came in. The call centres were simply ill-equipped to handle the massive call volume. But instead of taking responsibility for the botched rollout, the Premier and his government passed the blame onto TELUS which was contracted to manage the system. The Premier has also refused to reveal the details of that contract with TELUS, to provide transparency on how well – or not – government had planned for the rollout. 

An online booking system is critical to the success of mass vaccination. Yet the online system is still weeks away from launching, and only one health authority will continue to book online in the meantime. Many other provinces have successfully implemented online systems with older age groups, but B.C. lags behind. 

The fact of the matter is, B.C. should have been ready once vaccine supply was made available. Instead, we’re weeks behind other provinces in developing an online system and given our experiences with the failed launch of call-in booking, there is great cause for concern. Our Official Opposition will continue to ask questions to ensure B.C. is adequately prepared to handle this massive and important effort. 

British Columbians simply want answers and clarity around this vaccine rollout. With hope on the horizon for a return to ‘life as usual,’ B.C. expects a competent and capable government at the helm that will be open, honest, and transparent.