The Manitoba government has ordered a total of 1.2 million wallet-sized plastic cards, to date, to keep up with demand for physical copies of the provincial COVID-19 immunity certificate.
A spokesperson for the province said Monday printing of vaccination cards will resume July 19.
Last week, the province said high demand for blank plastic cards across the globe led to a shortage of materials and forced the province to temporarily halt its distribution program.
Requests for the physical cards continue to be high, and so far 250,000 cards have been issued, the spokesperson said.
“Individuals can continue to request their digital and physical card,” the spokesperson said. “The digital cards are available for use immediately. The physical cards will be mailed as soon as supplies are available.”
The cards are being printed by German-based company Veridos, which has a Canadian subsidiary headquartered in Ontario.
According to its website, Veridos was also the primary provider of driver's licences when Manitoba Public Insurance refreshed its identification card program, and arranged for card manufacturing, fulfilment, procurement and distribution.
For those Manitobans waiting to have their immunization records corrected before requesting the secure, individualized card, the province said it has fallen behind its target of a three-day turnaround time for closing open requests.
In the past three days, the province said it has received about 1,000 new requests for corrections or updates per day.
“The team had worked through the initial backlog... However, there was another surge of requests last week, and the response time had slowed by the end of the week,” the spokesperson said.
The province said more staff are being assigned to record corrections and hiring and training is underway.
“In addition, quality assurance monitoring is being strengthened to reduce errors, and work is underway to streamline processes,” the government spokesperson said.
Since the province introduced a process to request secure immunization cards and record corrections through its COVID-19 vaccine hotline, wait times for its call centre have also jumped.
On July 7 and 8, the province said wait times were more than an hour, due to volumes “being much higher than anticipated.”
“The number of agents trained to support (vaccination card application) was increased, and on Friday, the average hold time dropped to less than 10 minutes,” according to the province.
The average hold time for the call centre was about six minutes, as of Monday.
The province also noted the mobile application needed to verify the secure immunization card will once again be available in the Google Play store for Android devices.
“The name of the app was changed, which triggered a requirement for review and approval by the Apple and Google Play stores,” the province said. “It will be available once they have provided final approval.”
— Danielle Da Silva