‘We are 100% ready’: Ontario vaccine portal goes live Monday

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces that the COVID-19 vaccine appointment system is ready to roll during a news conference on Sunday, March 14, 2021. (CPAC.ca via Newswatch Group)

TORONTO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford says “tomorrow will be a milestone.”

That’s when the province’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment portal is scheduled to go live at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 15 for mass immunization clinics.

In a rare Sunday morning news conference, Ford says the system has been stress tested and “it’s seamless so far.”

Only people who are 80 years old, turn 80 this year or are older (born 1941 or earlier) will be able to book.

Premier Ford stressed that if you are younger than 80, “please do not try to book an appointment.”

There’s a provincial website and for those not online, the phone line is 1-888-999-6488.

Head of the vaccine task force, Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, says the phone system will have around 2,200 operators with the capacity to handle about 10,000 calls per hour.

Hillier says the system has been stress tested with 15,000 bookings for Toronto Public Health “without a flaw.”

As for vaccine rollout, Ford says the province is making steady progress with over one million doses administered and over 50,000 shots done on Saturday. But Ford says the province needs more vaccine.

“We are leading the country, bar none, compared to any other province. We are ready to ramp up immediately to 150,000 vaccinations a day. We just need more vaccines,” Ford said.

The premier commended public health units that “jumped ahead” and launched their own online portals for booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

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