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Online COVID-19 vaccine registration rolling out in B.C.

Registration by phone will also be available seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in 140 different languages.

B.C. will launch a provincewide online COVID-19 vaccine booking system Tuesday amid rising counts of new cases and variants of concern.

Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead for B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization program, said the province has worked “diligently and tirelessly” to get the online registration, booking and tracking system ready.

The new system will kick off the next phase of the largest vaccination program in B.C. history, with millions of people expected to be immunized, she said. There are 4.3 million people age 18 and older eligible for the vaccine, and about one in six has been vaccinated to date.

In the Get Vaccinated system, residents will first register with the system, then be contacted when they are eligible to make an appointment.

Premier John Horgan said today marks a “major milestone” in the fight against COVID-19 “and we ask everyone to wait their turn.”

B.C.’s age-based plan under the direction of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is focused on preventing severe illness and death, while a parallel vaccination program is aimed at protecting health-care workers, the most vulnerable populations, and managing outbreaks.

Nearly 770,000 eligible British Columbians — or one in six — have received their first dose of vaccine and more than 87,000 have received their second dose.

Henry said every vaccine delivered makes all of us safer and urged British Columbians to keep up the momentum to get everyone who wants a vaccine “their first dose by Canada Day.”

The province set records two days in a row last week, with 1,018 cases reported for Friday and 1,072 cases Saturday. Island Health had 147 new cases in 48 hours; the previous record was 55 in one day.

When you can register

The new system launches on April 6.

Registration is based on age. Check gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated to see when you are eligible.

Starting at 8 a.m. April 6, non-Indigenous people age 71 and older (born in 1950 and earlier), Indigenous people 18 and older, and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable — and have received a letter inviting them to book a vaccination — are eligible to register.

What you will need

To register you will need to provide your name, date of birth, postal code, and Personal Health Number. Your Personal Health Number can be found on the back of your B.C. Services Card or driver’s licence. It is the number that was on Care Cards.

You will also be asked to provide an email address that gets checked regularly or a phone number that can receive texts.

You will never be asked you for your social insurance number, driver's licence number or banking and credit card details.

How to register and book an appointment

Step 1: Register online at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated, by calling 1-833-838-2323, or by going to a Service B.C. office. You will receive a confirmation number, which will be required to book your appointment.

You should only register when it is your turn. The phone line will be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting on April 6.

Step 2: Book your appointment. You will get an email, text or phone call telling you when you are eligible to book your appointment. This is based on age.

Appointments will be booked online or by phone. You will be able to select a location, date and time.

AstraZeneca vaccine availability

People ages 55 to 65 on the Lower Mainland continue to be eligible to book an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at a participating pharmacy near them. More information can be found here.

This program is being expanded to other parts of the province, including Vancouver Island. The province said more information would be provided later this week.

What if I have already received my first dose?

People who have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through a health authority call centre will receive information in May about when and how to register for a second dose.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com