UPDATE: Wednesday at 7 p.m. it looked like the website had been changed and the workaround was no longer effective.
Hundreds of people said they were able to make COVID-19 vaccination appointments for loved ones on Wednesday thanks to a workaround posted online by a computer programmer.
It all started on Wednesday morning when Kory MathewsonThe family of has logged on to the Alberta Health Services website to make an appointment for Grandma Mufty and Grandpa Bill.
The first appointment was made after a few tries but getting the second was more difficult.
Like so many other Albertans, after logging into the website and entering the postal code, the website stopped working for Mathewson.
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As a programmer and computer developer, Mathewson checked the coding of the website.
He found he could change the code and bypass the zip code section, going straight to the patient information form.
In doing so, Mathewson was able to quickly make an appointment.
After getting the confirmation, he describes feeling immediate relief.
“That’s exactly it. It’s like, ‘Finally! I don’t have to worry.
After rechecking the process and simplifying it for a less tech-savvy audience, Mathewson posted the workaround on Twitter in hopes of helping others do the same.
“It was like, ‘OK, how can we make this as easy as possible for people? “You know, people who don’t know the code,” Mathewson told Global News.
Within hours, hundreds of Albertans responded saying the hack had worked for them and they were able to make appointments for loved ones as well.
However, by 7 p.m. it appeared that the website had been changed and the workaround was no longer effective.
In a series of Twitter messages on Wednesday evening, AHS said it had “implemented additional queuing software to help manage user volume on the AHS COVID vaccination booking tool -19.
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“This software will show an estimated wait time and where each individual is in the reservation queue to give people the option of continuing to book or trying again later.”
As of 7 p.m., 43,000 eligible seniors aged 75 and over had made an appointment using the vaccination tool, and 811 since it went live at 8 a.m., AHS said.
An AHS spokesperson told Global News the queue system had “nothing to do with the workaround” shared on Twitter.
A Twitter user created a video outlining the steps to show others how to do it visually.
“It was a real community effort and all the different people came together a little bit to make this solution happen,” said Mathewson.
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The former Edmontonian believes Alberta Health Services could use the tool to correct delays for all Albertans.
“In my opinion, this seems like a relatively simple solution. “
“I am more than happy to be in touch with the folks at AHS to make this happen,” said Mathewson. “Part of the reason I’m here is to kind of communicate that there are some great developers like me who are ready to help make this possible and make it as easy and frictionless as possible for everyone. Albertans. “
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In a statement, Alberta Health Services confirmed that appointments made using the workaround were official, but that “it is not a permanent solution.”
“The AHS online vaccination booking tool continues to experience extremely high volumes and our IT teams are working to find a way to make the process as quick and efficient as possible for everyone. “
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Meanwhile, Mathewson and his brother kyle say they will continue to help others who are looking to make appointments.
“I did it for my grandparents, but really, it’s for all the grandparents in Alberta,” said Mathewson.
“There are a lot of people who want that and want to be safe. And I hope that will bring them a little closer together and take away that “when is this going to happen?”
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