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'Glitch' causes delay in booking COVID boosters for B.C. kids

Ministry of Health says invitations to book third doses are now flowing to "all eligible children" in the five-to-11 age group.
Child receiving COVID vaccine
B.C. parents awaiting invitations to book COVID boosters for their five-to-11-year-olds faced delays this week after a system update and a "minor glitch" delayed invitations, the B.C. Ministry of Health has confirmed.

A major system update and a “minor glitch” caused delays in B.C.’s COVID vaccine invitation system for children this week — but all eligible families should be getting their invites by this weekend.

On Aug. 25, the B.C. Ministry of Health announced that children aged five to 11 who have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine are now eligible for a booster dose six months after their second shot.

But the announcement left parents of children in that age group hanging after many who had passed the six- or seven-month mark since their child’s second dose failed to receive an invitation to book their child’s shot. (The provincial Get Vaccinated system requires an invitation code to book a vaccination appointment.)

On Aug. 31, the B.C. government tweeted that about 84,000 kids aged five to 11 had been invited to get their COVID-19 booster — drawing response from parents on Twitter who noted that their families had yet to receive invitations despite being further than six months out from their second dose.

On Thursday, Sept. 1, Glacier Media followed up with the Ministry of Health to inquire about the status of invitations for pediatric vaccination.

Late this afternoon (Sept. 2), the ministry confirmed there had, in fact, been a delay in invitations.

The ministry said about 1,750 invitations had been sent out to B.C. children starting the week of Aug. 21.

On Aug. 27 and 28, there was a “pre-scheduled and planned major system update, and during this time no invitations for any cohort were sent out,” a ministry statement said. “Following the system updates, a minor glitch was identified on the 5-11 invitations, and this has now been addressed.”

The ministry said invitations are now flowing to “all eligible children” at six months from their last shot and that all eligible children will receive their invite by the end of this week — meaning Friday, Sept. 2.

Despite the delays, a small number of B.C. children have in fact received their third dose — 399 in that age group as of Aug. 30, according to the ministry.

What to do if your child hasn't received a COVID vaccine booking invitation

The Ministry of Health also provided the following information for parents:

  • Parents or guardians will get a notification from the Get Vaccinated system when it's time for their child's booster dose. Invitations go out based on the six-month interval since the last shot.
  • After Labour Day weekend, if it has been six months and your child has still not received an invite by text or email, parents can call the B.C. Vaccine Line at 1-833-838-2323 to receive assistance to book a vaccine.
  • B.C. has enough supply of the Health Canada-approved vaccines for all children, and vaccine clinic capacity is available throughout the province.

The ministry is recommending a third dose for all eligible children.

“Children ages five to 11 will need a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine approximately six months after completing their initial series, especially as children head back to school,” the ministry statement said.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca