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Region of Waterloo vaccine texts blocked by Telus due to high volume

·3 min read

WATERLOO REGION — The region is asking Telus customers who preregistered for a vaccine appointment with the Region to reregister if they opted to receive communications via text messages and have not yet received a notice.

This includes people who use other phone service providers, such as Koodo, that operate through the Telus infrastructure.

The region’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force says it confirmed Friday that although text messages about booking appointments had been sent, Telus had been blocking them from reaching people.

This was “due to the perceived volume of texts being sent,” according to a release from the task force.

“Once notified of the problem, the block was immediately removed by Telus,” the release continues.

“The Region of Waterloo is not able to determine which Telus users did not receive their notification as the booking system indicated all messages were successfully sent,” says the release.

“Any Telus users who preregistered for the vaccine and haven’t received notification to book an appointment are asked to preregister again.”

Pauline Gilroy reached out to The Record after reading a column from Luisa D’Amato about people not hearing anything for weeks after preregistering.

Gilroy says she called the Region on April 8 and was told that she and her husband had been sent text messages five days earlier.

“We didn’t receive those texts,” she says. Gilroy is a Koodo customer.

She says a man she spoke with at the region was professional and helpful. He sent them a test text while they were on the phone that also did not go through. He then told them the region was experiencing some issues with residents who preregistered and asked to be contacted via text message. He booked their appointment over the phone.

While she is grateful for the prompt service, she says, “it concerned me that if I hadn’t have called, we would still be sitting waiting,” she says. “We’re all desperately waiting for our vaccine so we can feel safe.”

Jodi Schmidt and her husband also registered as soon as they could. They heard about other friends in their cohort with appointments scheduled while they had not heard anything. Both opted to communicate with the region via text message to schedule the appointment. Schmidt is also a Koodo customer.

By April 9 she still had not heard anything, so she decided to call.

Schmidt says she was also told by the Region that some cell service providers were not getting through. She was able to schedule appointments immediately over the phone.

“I’ve lost about a couple of weeks that I could’ve been vaccinated,” she says. “It’s not a big deal, but with all these variants going around, it would have been nice if it could’ve been earlier.”

It would be so sad, she says, “if there are all these people waiting for something that’s just never going to come.”

Leah Gerber’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows her to report on stories about the Grand River Watershed. Email lgerber@therecord.com

Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record