Many Hamilton, who wanted to book COVID-19 vaccines, saw busy signs and disconnected calls when they became eligible for a shot on Monday morning.
“I’ve tried at least 200 times in the last hour,” and “4 hours later and 200+ calls, I’m finally on hold,” were just a few comments left on a social media post from the city that residents Was asking for it to be patient while the operators closed the booking hotline.
The city’s emergency operations director (EOC) said he was not surprised by the difficulty, adding that the city’s existing call center is not normally up to the task of handling high volumes of calls.
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“I just want to tell people that municipal and public health units were never designed or structured to handle large hotlines and call center volumes,” Paul Johnson said in an update on Monday afternoon.
“There is not just one province that can handle thousands of incoming calls at any given time. We have tried our best to put a lot of staff on it.”
The EOC boss said the primary drawback of the hotline is to find employees and limitations of existing technology along with the city’s call centers.
The holocaust of the calls came as an 18-year-old adult and 114 aged hot spots across the province were able to book their shots by 8 am Monday, living in the postal code.
The pledge to compete delivery of new vaccines, especially in high-case areas, over the next few weeks and the haste of calls led to the omission of three qualified Hamilton postal codes on its online booking portal.
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Despite being fully staffed, once the queue is complete the system simply drops the call, according to the city.
“The amount of a day, whenever it is a day, is a huge quantity,” Johnson said.
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“It gets better as the days go by.”
Hamilton Public Health Director Michelle Baird told Global News that qualified candidates should not worry, saying that enough appointments will cover the thousands of people who are eligible for booking.
“We know that community members overall are feeling anxious and tired and people are worried about the epidemic and are eager to book a vaccine, so we’re just asking that you be kind, respectful Be patient and be patient. The hotline is open all week, ”said Baird.
Both Baird and Johnson begged Callgirl not to “take it out” on the operators when he got out of there.
“They are doing their best there and we try and make the system the best it can be,” Johnson said.
“Hopefully, more and more people will be eligible to use the provincial online booking tool, which is actually the best way to do it.”
On Monday, Hamilton’s health official said several new programs and expansion eligibility bands would be announced by the province soon.
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Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said the expansion is expected to be “extensive” and will be revealed in the coming weeks as the city continues to process an estimated 300,000 Hamilton settlements.
The expansion is expected to increase booking demand, with Richardson urging those who can make online appointments to prioritize this route.
“You can get all the information around eligibility from our website as well as the provincial website, and can actually store hotlines that can only book in that way or that have any type of computer computer access. No, “Richardson said.
Adults living in the L9C and L8W postal codes in Hamilton can book an appointment using Ontario’s online portal, while only those residing in L8L, L8N and L9K can use the city’s hotline.
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People over 50, people with high-risk health conditions or who cannot work from home will be allowed to book the jab on 6 May.
As of Monday, more than 11 million vaccine shots had been delivered in Canada. Ontario has managed only five million of them.
More than 196,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been taken in Hamilton, with the bulk of shots coming from the Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) clinic.
Approximately 36 percent of the city’s eligible population over 18 have received at least one dose.
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