The British Columbia government says age-based bookings for COVID-19 vaccinations are one week ahead of schedule and seniors aged 84 and older, plus Indigenous elders 65 and up, can make an appointment for a shot.
The Health Ministry says those 83 and older can make an appointment Tuesday and the age eligibility drops daily until anyone 80 and older can make arrangements for a COVID-19 jab by the end of the week.
Added staff at call centres across B.C. have helped speed up the process and the province says the centres are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
An estimated 100,000 people are included in the 80 to 84-year-old group and phone appointments are the only way to make a booking in all regions except Fraser Health.
But Health Minister Adrian Dix has said a province-wide online system is expected within weeks.
Monday also marks the launch of vaccination clinics across B.C. for Indigenous elders and seniors over 90 who already have appointments.
Clinics also begin in Prince Rupert and Port Edward where all adults are being immunized, regardless of age, due to stubbornly high infection rates in that northwestern B.C. region.
At last count on Friday, B.C. had reported just under 87,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and had administered almost 381,000 doses of vaccine.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 15, 2021.