This week started with Nova Scotia seniors and their family members waking in the early hours to book their COVID-19 vaccine appointment. They were met with a website that crashed even before it opened.
“Knowing that their province is dead last in vaccine rollouts, Nova Scotians are feeling tremendous anxiety about getting their turn. They were let down again yesterday,” said Houston. “For one million dollars this website should have been set up and tested months ago.”
Nova Scotian taxpayers paid CANimmunize Inc. $1.17 million in a sole-sourced contract to track and schedule vaccinations. The website crashed Monday morning.
Now, those who were persistent and lucky enough to actually get an appointment are being faced with having to drive up to three hours and told to “bundle up” to get their shot. It’s an apparent admission that the actual clinic locations may be so disorganized that 80-year-olds may have to wait in line outside in the cold.
Many rural and local healthcare professionals have offered to help with the rollout logistics by keeping vaccinations local. They’ve noted that worried seniors over the age of 80 will do whatever it takes to get their vaccination, but that doesn’t make the current setup fair.
For example, Northern Cape Breton seniors would have to travel 7 hours round trip to Sydney, while Pictou County seniors would be forced to travel over Mount Thom during winter conditions to Truro, twice, for vaccinations.
Houston notes the three-hour travel time that some seniors will face to get vaccinated.
“The number of seniors who will have to travel snowy roads to get their vaccination under the current setup is troubling,” Houston pleaded. “I urge the government to get its act together and involve as many healthcare professionals as necessary to get the job done.”