TELUS Named Fastest Mobile Operator In Canada By Ookla

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 15, 2021 by itnerd

Today, Ookla released its Q1 2021 Speedtest Intelligence report, naming TELUS the Fastest Mobile Operator in Canada with a speed score of 87.54. Additionally, when it came to calculating median latency for top fixed broadband providers in Canada during the same period, TELUS tied for first with the lowest latency at 6 ms. 

The recognition from Ookla accompanies the significant, sustained accolades TELUS has earned over the years in respect of our world-leading wireless network:

This doesn’t at all surprise because when I did my testing of the TELUS 5G Network after getting my iPhone 12 Pro, I found it to be very fast. So fast that it blows the minds of my American friends who see my SpeedTest results. Unless of course they have mmWave which isn’t available in Canada yet. But in any case, Congratulations to TELUS for scoring yet another award for having a fast and high quality network.

$125M Growth Round Fuels Keyfactor & PrimeKey Merger

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 15, 2021 by itnerd

Keyfactor® and PrimeKey® today announced their intent to merge under the Keyfactor brand while committing to increased investments across all product lines.

Keyfactor is the pioneer of PKI as-a-Service, and the recognized leader in certificate lifecycle automation and crypto-agility solutions. PrimeKey’s EJBCA® software offers the most powerful and flexible certificate authority (CA) supporting DevOps, IoT, manufacturing and enterprise use cases.

The merger forms an industry-first machine identity management platform, combining Keyfactor’s certificate lifecycle automation with PrimeKey’s EJBCA. The new platform will provide end-to-end machine identity management – with flexible and highly scalable certificate issuance and automated deployment of machine identities across complex enterprise and emerging IoT and OT use cases.

Machine identity management was introduced by Gartner in its Hype Cycle for Identity and Access Management Technologies, 2020 report and recognized as a “high” benefit in IAM. Even though machine identities, such as keys, certificates and secrets continue to outnumber human identities (e.g., usernames and passwords), they are often left out of an IAM strategy. Keyfactor customers recognize that cryptography is the critical infrastructure to ensure digital trust and help CISO’s achieve crypto-agility for their digital business.

PrimeKey’s employees will join Keyfactor, creating an unprecedented mashup of talent in the identity management space. Jordan Rackie will continue leading the organization as CEO and Magnus Svenningson will assume the role of chief strategy officer (CSO) and executive vice president (EVP) of business development. The combined company will have a global presence with offices in the U.S., EMEA and Asia-Pacific. The transaction is expected to close within the next 90 days, pending approval by the Swedish authorities.

This $125 million growth infusion, led by Insight Partners, adds to its initial $77 million investment in Keyfactor in 2019.

About Keyfactor 

Keyfactor is the leader in cloud-first PKI-as-a-Service and crypto-agility solutions. Its Crypto-Agility Platform™ empowers security teams to seamlessly orchestrate every key and certificate across their entire enterprise. The company helps its customers apply cryptography in the right way from modern, multi-cloud enterprises to complex IoT supply chains.

With decades of cybersecurity experience, Keyfactor is trusted by more than 500 enterprises across the globe. Built on a foundation of trust and security, Keyfactor is a proud equal opportunity employer, supporter and advocate of growing a trusted, secure, diverse and inclusive workplace. For more information, visit or follow Keyfactor on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

About PrimeKey 

PrimeKey is one of the world’s leading PKI and signing solutions providers and has developed several innovative products, including EJBCA® Enterprise, SignServer Enterprise, PKI Appliance, PrimeKey SEE and Identity Authority Manager.

As a pioneer in open-source security software, PrimeKey provides global businesses and organizations the ability to implement vital security solutions, such as e-ID, e-Passports, authentication, digital signatures, unified digital identities and validation. PrimeKey products are Common Criteria and FIPS-certified, the company’s internal processes are ISO 9001, 14001 and 27001 certified and it has numerous Webtrust/ETSI and eIDAS-audited customers.

PrimeKey has offices in Stockholm, Sweden; Aachen, Germany; San Mateo, USA; and Melbourne, Australia. With a global network of technology and reselling partners, PrimeKey supports a customer roster that includes industry-leading companies and institutions across the IT, telecommunications, industry, finance and public sectors. For more information, please visit or follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Darktrace and MIT Technology Review Release Co-branded Whitepaper

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 14, 2021 by itnerd

Darktrace, a world leading cyber AI company, in collaboration with MIT Technology Review, released a whitepaper that assesses industry professionals’ views towards AI-powered attacks. At a time when cyberattacks are at an all-time high, it’s integral for companies to understand and anticipate such attacks – no matter the industry.    

The report is based on research gathered from December 2020 to January 2021 and surveyed 309 senior global business leaders; more than half were C-level executives or directors.

Key findings from the report include:  

  • How 97 per cent of respondents are concerned about AI-augmented attacks  
  • The top three reasons respondents are concerned are: 
  • Human driven response can’t keep up  
  • Security tools can’t anticipate new attacks  
  • Hiring qualified employees is difficult  
  • How 96 per cent of respondents said they had started preparing for AI- powered attacks  
  • That respondents think the top three ways AI-attacks will manifest themselves are: 
  • More advanced spear-phishing and impersonation attacks  
  • More effective ransomware  
  • Misinformation and undermining of data integrity 

The white paper is available for download here.   

Canon Announces That The Powerful Professional Full-Frame EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera Is On Its Way

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 14, 2021 by itnerd

Canon Canada, Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that its parent company, Canon Inc., is developing a new, high-performance professional camera — the Canon EOS R3. When it arrives, the EOS R3 will be an outstanding complement to the three new RF lenses the company also introduced today — The Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM, RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM and RF600mm F4 L IS USM.

Under Development – The Canon EOS R3

The Canon EOS R3 will join the current lineup of EOS R full-frame mirrorless series cameras. This camera will usher in a new category to the EOS R system, positioned squarely between the EOS R5 and EOS-1D X Mark III cameras. The camera will put great emphasis on superb AF performance and speed, with fast-moving subjects. It is being designed to meet the reliability and durability demands of professionals, even when working in challenging conditions.

At the heart of the EOS R3 camera’s performance will be an EOS camera first, a Canon-developed, full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with a back-illuminated design, providing substantially faster read-out speeds during still-imaging recording. This completely new sensor is designed to produce less “rolling shutter” distortion during Electronic Shutter operation and offer continuous Electronic Shutter still-image shooting at speeds up to 30 fps — with full Dual Pixel CMOS AF and auto exposure.

The AF system will leverage technology and performance from the well-received EOS R5 and EOS R6 cameras, using Deep Learning technology to further enhance eye and body detection for even better performance during portrait and action-type shooting. In addition, the EOS R3’s subject detection AF will offer new recognizable subjects for its AF system, bolstering its focusing capabilities during challenging shooting conditions.

The Electronic Viewfinder of the EOS R3 will offer photographers the ability to select the initial area for AF tracking by simply looking directly at the viewfinder location where they want to begin AF. With Eye Control AF and Servo AF activated, the camera will focus on and track moving subjects at that location in the frame. When Face Detect + Tracking is active, the camera will continue to follow moving subjects around the entire active AF area.

The camera body will be entirely new and accentuates the camera’s high-performance design. It’s a one-piece design, integrating the body with a vertical grip section. The weather and dust-resistance will be equivalent to that of EOS-1D class cameras — an essential consideration for nature, wildlife, sports and photojournalism content creators working in extreme conditions. In addition, news photojournalists will be excited to add the Mobile File Transmitter application for iOS and Android devices that will be available.

Full details of all the EOS R3’s features and specifications will be provided at the time of its formal announcement*. To follow along for more news on the Canon EOS R3 camera, please visit: .

From Up-Close To Far Away, New Canon RF Lenses Have You Covered

The Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM lens is not only Canon’s first RF lens designed specifically for macro photography, but also the world’s first medium telephoto macro lens with a maximum magnification of 1.4x. The new lens, designed for both advanced photo enthusiasts and professionals, takes macro photography expression to the next level with the introduction of a spherical aberration (SA) control ring. The SA control ring allows users to change the character and appearance of the bokeh and obtain a softer focus effect with a simple turning of the ring to the desired result. Additional features of the Canon RF100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM include:

  • Optical Image Stabilizer with up to five stops of Shake Correction
  • When combined with a camera featuring In-Body Image Stabilizer, up to eight stops of shake correction is possible with coordinated operation of Optical and In-Body Image Stabilizer.
  • Hybrid IS helps to compensate for angular and shift camera shake during macro shooting.
  • High-speed, smooth and quiet auto focus with dual nano USM.
  • Customizable control ring that allows photographers to adjust exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO.
  • Rugged Canon L-series dust and water-resistant design.

The Canon RF400mm F2.8L IS USM and Canon RF600mm F4L IS USM are both designed to be optically identical to their EF counterparts. The RF400mm and RF600mm weigh in at 6.37 and 6.81 pounds with a minimum focusing distance of 8.2 and 13.8 feet, respectively. Both lenses share many of the same critical features that help professional high-end super-telephoto lenses stand out from the crowd. Those features include:

  • Ideal for a wide variety of shooting situations, including sports, aviation, trains, automotive, and wildlife, such as birding.
  • Optical Image Stabilization with up to 5.5 stops of shake correction. Including three IS Operation Modes — still subjects, panning, and irregular movement.
  • Proprietary Canon lens coatings, Super Spectra Coating (SSC), and Air Sphere Coating (ASC) help minimize ghosting and flaring. Lens placement and coatings are optimized to provide users with clear, high-contrast images even when there is a bright light source.
  • Lenses include fluorite and super UD lens elements arranged in such a way to help correct chromatic aberration and make the models more compact. Like the latest Canon EF400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and EF600mm f/4L IS III USM lenses, released in the fall of 2018, weight on these RF-series super-telephotos has been significantly reduced vs. previous-generation Canon super tele designs.
  • Compatible with Canon RF 1.4x and 2x extenders, and feature a customizable electronic focus ring, with manual focus capability during SERVO AF.
  • A nine-blade circular aperture provides users beautiful bokeh and ideally blurred backgrounds when the aperture is stopped down.
  • For added convenience when on a shoot, two focus presets are available. Users can instantly return to one of two memorized focus distances.
  • Rugged Canon L-series dust and water-resistant design with vibration and shock resistance. The front element has been dressed with a fluorine coating for easy cleaning.
  • Infrared reflective pigments with high reflectance and titanium oxide lens barrel coating with silica provide excellent UV weather resistance and heat reduction.

Canon RF Lenses Pricing and Availability
The Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM, Canon RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM and Canon RF600mm F4L IS USM are scheduled to be available in July 2021 for an estimated retail price (CAD) of $1,849.99, $15,899.99 and $17,199.99, respectively. For more information, please visit

Crewdle Launches Secure, Green, Simple Peer-To-Peer Video Conferencing

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 14, 2021 by itnerd

Crewdle, a Montreal-based technology start-up company co-founded in 2020 by Vincent Lamanna and Pierre Campeau, today publicly announced its peer-to-peer (P2P) based video conferencing service that offers millions of people an alternative to how they connect and collaborate. Funded by an initial seed-round of investors from Canada and Silicon Valley, Crewdle introduces a secure, green, and simple way to work remotely and stay connected with family and friends. 

Privacy and security is a top priority today as more people than ever rely on video streaming collaboration tools in their work and home life. The Crewdle team began experimenting with different ways to expand the quality and capabilities of secure peer-to-peer connections in video conferencing. The team was able to achieve higher quality encrypted video streams with extensibility that allows Crewdle to integrate with a wide variety of productivity tools and platforms to realize a serverless and secure platform. 

Crewdle is available now for individual users free of charge online and requires no download or installation. Crewdle also works on mobile devices via an application available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. A subscription-based model for small and medium-sized business (SMB) with added features and scalability is available via digital distribution, with plans to offer enterprise-sized business subscription packages in late 2021. Crewdle can be easily added to Google Calendar and Slack, with support for Microsoft 365 Outlook Calendar, and other platforms coming soon. 

To learn more about Crewdle, secure P2P video-conferencing and reduced carbon emissions for the planet visit:

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says That Malware Disguised As Meeting Apps Spiked By 1,067% In 12 Months

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 14, 2021 by itnerd

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the majority of people to move their work to their homes, which meant an unprecedented increase in online meeting application usage. 

Criminals did not overlook this fact and started to distribute malware using popular meeting applications as a lure. 

Atlas VPN analysis reveals that cyberthreats disguised as videoconferencing applications jumped by 1,067% in a year. 

Threat actors spread these malicious files through phishing emails or websites. Fraudsters create seemingly authentic emails and websites to lure victims into downloading the installer, which comes with a hidden bonus called malware.  

Edward Garb, a cybersecurity researcher and writer at Atlas VPN, shares his advice on how to protect yourself against malware:

“There are countless little tricks that fraudsters can use to dupe you into clicking on a phishing link or downloading an attachment. As a rule of thumb, simply decide to ignore all email attachments and links until you confirm with your colleagues, friends, or Google search that a particular company is indeed sending out such emails.

If you need to download a particular software, go to their website directly, do not click on an email link, or use downloaders from third-party websites.”

In March 2020, researchers detected 90,000 malicious installers hidden under the name of popular meeting applications, while in February 2020, the number jumped to a staggering 1.05 million, representing a nearly 12x increase.

Most threats were detected in January 2021, when victims encountered 1.15 million cyber threats. 

Throughout last year, hackers attacked victims with this type of malware around 411,000 times per month. The volume of attacks increased steadily during 2020, with a noticeable spike in November and December.

To read the full article, head over to:

OpenText Announces New Content Services Platform to Power Modern Work in the Cloud

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 14, 2021 by itnerd

OpenText™ today announced OpenText Core Content and OpenText Core Case Management, the new content services platform from the global leader in information management.

Announced as part of OpenText Cloud Editions (CE) 21.2OpenText Core Content and OpenText Core Case Management are multi-tenant cloud offerings that are quick and easy to deploy and can be tailored to address unique line of business, departmental, and industry needs.

Built to connect content to the systems and people that need it, Core Content integrates with business applications that customers already use, including a deep integration with SAP S/4HANA® Public Cloud. Core Case Management manages unstructured and complex processes. Whether opening accounts, processing claims, or maintaining property records – it is necessary to know who has the work item, what has happened, where the documents are, and what is needed to get work done.

By combining content management, case management and integration into lead applications, this solution delivers a unified approach to managing an organization’s content lifecycle in context of its formal and informal business processes.

The explosion of remote work and a hybrid workforce have increased the complexity and scope of organizations’ information management challenges. Per a recent IDC report, “Increasing demand for greater agility, speed, and flexibility ushers in a new breed of SaaS solutions purpose-built for a more distributed and connected enterprise.” *

Core Content and Core Case Management underpin the industry-leading portfolio of Core SaaS content services applications with foundational content management capabilities. The portfolio now includes: OpenText™ Core ShareOpenText™ Core SignatureOpenText™ Core for Federated ComplianceOpenText™ Core Archive for SAP® SolutionsOpenText™ Core CaptureOpenText™ Core for SAP® SuccessFactors® and more.

Mark J. Barrenechea, OpenText CEO & CTO unveiled the new offerings during the opening keynote of OpenText World Europe, which brings leading Information Management experts together to explore the technology needed to support modern work, engage customers and communities, connect global commerce and stay ahead of the competition. The 2-day virtual tech event launched today, and registration and on-demand content can be found here.

More information about OpenText Core Content is available here and OpenText Core Case Management here.

Cloud Editions 21.2 Enables Organizations to Grow with OpenText

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 14, 2021 by itnerd

OpenText™ today announced the release of OpenText™ Cloud Editions (CE) 21.2. The release was unveiled at OpenText World Europe during the opening keynote from OpenText CEO & CTO Mark J. Barrenechea.

OpenText Cloud Editions empower customers with choice, enabling them to run their software anywhere – off-cloud, in the private cloud, in the public cloud platform of choice, or through cloud API services. CE can be paired with expert managed services to ensure success at each stage of the Information Management journey. New features, use-cases and enhancements are delivered quarterly.

New Cloud Platform for Content Services

Anchoring CE 21.2 is a new Content Services platform to power modern work in the cloud. OpenText Core Content and OpenText Case Management are multi-tenant cloud offerings that are quick and easy to deploy and can be tailored to address unique line of business, departmental, and industry needs.

Built to connect content to the systems and people that need it, Core Content integrates with business applications that customers already use, including a deep integration with SAP S/4HANA® Public Cloud. Core Case Management is a no-code SaaS application that manages unstructured and complex processes to enable smarter and quicker case resolution and improved customer and employee experiences.

By combining content management, case management and integration into lead applications, the solution delivers a unified approach to managing an organization’s content lifecycle in context of its formal and informal business processes.

There are also significant updates across each of the OpenText Clouds.

The OpenText Content Cloud empowers modern work by improving user productivity, process stability, and providing solutions to assist with regulatory compliance. In addition to Core Content and Core Case Management, key innovations in CE 21.2 include:

  • Core™ for Federated Compliance expands governance to Microsoft Office 365 to help organizations manage records policies and compliance across OpenText and Microsoft repositories simultaneously, including SharePoint and OneDrive.
  • OpenText™ eDOCS improves user productivity with smart profiling to automate classification of content.
  • OpenText™ Axcelerate™ speeds review for eDiscovery and investigations with faster data ingestion, enhanced culling, and enhancements to chat review.

The OpenText Business Network Cloud connects business to global commerce and trading networks through a unified platform for streamlined connectivity, secure collaboration, and real-time business intelligence. Key innovations in CE 21.2 include:

  • More than 60 new SAP S/4 HANA® API connectors for OpenText Trading Grid enable companies to accelerate SAP ECC related migration projects. Trading Grid also strengthens self-service testing capabilities for accelerated partner onboarding.
  • OpenText™ Active Invoice with Compliance helps organizations meet e-invoice country-specific tax and business regulatory compliance with validation needed.
  • OpenText IoT platform introduces mobile device provisioning for fast IoT device onboarding and new exception management dashboards to flag real-time events and streamline management of large device groups.

The OpenText Experience Cloud provides a single platform to deliver modern engagements across the customer journey. Key innovations in CE 21.2 include:

  • OpenText™ Exstream now features new AI services that support compliance, rationalization and efficiency by simplifying template maintenance, rationalization, and migration of document templates and content from other CCM solutions to Exstream.
  • OpenText Media Management introduces new capabilities for seamless collaboration, including video mark-up and annotation, the ability to preview 360 Spin Sets and intelligent asset recommendations.
  • A new integration between CX-E Voice and Microsoft Teams Phone System facilitates a smooth transition to a mixed Unified Communications (UC) deployment.

The OpenText Security & Protection Cloud strengthens cyber resilience by helping organizations to better secure sensitive information, find evidence faster, reduce risk, and detect and respond to cyberthreats. Key innovations in CE 21.2 include:

  • Enhancements to OpenText™ Encase Forensic help investigators and examiners identify hard-to-find evidence faster and includes support for social media artifacts and Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
  • OpenText™ EnCase Information Assurance (formerly EnCase eDiscovery) provides a streamlined user experience and improved user workflows through its new web application. Customers can collect data from Microsoft Teams through a new connector.
  • OpenText™ EnCase™ Endpoint Security embeds BrightCloud® Threat Intelligence Web Classification and Web Reputation Services. BrightCloud leverages historical and contextual data collected from over 283M real-world endpoints to help users quickly and accurately identify and remediate threats and malicious websites.
  • An updated management console for Webroot® Business Endpoint Protection (WBEP), targeted at Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), streamlines common management tasks.

The OpenText Developer Cloud is a single source of Cloud API services that lets developers quickly bring their ideas to life faster using powerful, developer-trusted APIs. Key innovations in CE 21.1 include:

  • Strengthened administrative capabilities for tenant management and simplified authentication for cross-service API service calls. This includes security and ease of use features that continue to enhance the overall developer experience.

Underpinning each of the clouds are OpenText Advanced Technologies. OpenText Magellan provides pre-built AI and ML components that can be individually deployed, and the OpenText AppWorks platform enables business and technical users to rapidly build applications that improve efficiency, optimize employee skills, and provide insights. Major enhancements in CE 21.2 include:

  • Magellan Data Science Notebook offers augmented AI with ML models, which can be built through the SciKit-Learn framework. ML Models can be published as a REST API service and managed through a new, intuitive Magellan ML Model Management tool.
  • Magellan Text Mining introduces composite AI, enabling multiple models to leverage metadata from one another to deliver more accurate analysis of AI powered annotations, such as PII recognition or sensitive content classification.
  • OpenText™ Contract Center delivers enhanced full-text search capabilities for contract metadata and simplifies authoring to improve usability.
  • Security, performance and usability improvements to the AppWorks platform, including a new import utility for AppWorks Case Accelerator to enable administrators to quickly implement Quick Start packages for faster time to value.

Additionally, new managed cloud services are introduced for OpenText Output Transformation Server (OTS) and OpenText Document Accessibility to reduce costs and free up resources by providing the expertise required to manage cloud solutions.

Solutions Built to Address Unique Industry Requirements

With Cloud Edition 21.2, OpenText has also released three new industry solutions that are targeted to support specific customer needs:

  • Remote Access for Energy and Manufacturing from OpenText™ provides real time, synchronized access to relevant technical content stored in a central repository. The solution offers employees in both the energy and manufacturing sectors immediate access to the latest versions of key documentation from their mobile devices.
  • Digital Experience (DXP) for Retail Banking from OpenText™ helps retail banks create superior digital experiences by bringing relevant content to the core of every interaction with real-time contextual engagements based on customer activity, preferences, and priorities.
  • Asset Intelligence Tracking for Manufacturing from OpenText™ provides insight into the location and condition of manufactures’ assets to help reduce asset loss, improve logistics, and create efficiencies.

For more information on OpenText CE 21.2, visit or check out the latest blog from OpenText Chief Product Officer, Muhi Majzoub.

Guest Post: Government Most Hit By Ransomware Attacks In 2020 Followed By Banking Says Atlas VPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 13, 2021 by itnerd

Ransomware is malicious software that restricts access to a victim’s files or devices until the ransom is paid. Last year, this type of attack was one of the cybercriminals’ favorite methods for targeting organizations.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, the government sector was the most affected by ransomware attacks in 2020, followed by Banking. In total, 50% of last year’s ransomware attacks were directed at these industries among the top 10 most-targeted sectors.

Government organizations took the biggest share of ransomware attacks last year — 31,906, while the banking sector suffered 22,082 attacks. Other industries that made it to the top five include manufacturing (17,071), healthcare (15,701), and finance (4,917).

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and writer at Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on ransomware attack trends in 2020: 

“Financial organizations have always been popular targets among cybercriminals due to their wealth.  In the meantime, the government and healthcare sectors are known to be especially vulnerable to cyberattacks. As the latter industries also played a critical role in dealing with the global pandemic last year, they became an easy prey to hackers.”

WannaCry ransomware was favored by cybercriminals

Like most cyber threats out there, ransomware comes in many different types. However, some ransomware families were more popular last year than the others.

Out of all the ransomware types, WannaCry, also referred to as WCry, was most favored by cybercriminals. This cyber threat was responsible for 220,166 or nearly 87% of all last year’s top ransomware families’ attacks. 

Locky ransomware also continued to plague organizations last year. There were 15,816 Locky cases detected in 2020. 

Other ransomware families that were highly active last year include Cerber (5,448),  Ryuk (3,376), GandCrab (2,326), Sodinokibi (2,275), Crysis (1,744), Crypwall (1,019), Egregor(827), and DoppelPaymer (526). 

To read the full article, head over to:

My Wife And I Got Our COVID Vaccines…. Here’s What That Was Like For Us

Posted in Commentary on April 13, 2021 by itnerd

Early last week my wife and I got our COVID vaccines and I wanted to take a moment to talk about what that experience was like as I got a lot of questions about it since posting this Tweet:

Here’s a recap of our experience.

First of all, there was booking the appointment. Now some friends of ours alerted us that we were eligible because we were 50 or over in a “high priority” postal code. I am going to assume that this might have something to do with the fact that there is an assisted living facility down the street from us that had a number of deaths that were due to COVID. That led us to booking an appointment with Unity Health to get our vaccine. Or at least trying to. It took three days of constantly checking the website to find a pair of appointments for us. When we did, we hurriedly booked them. One was for last Monday at the St. Joseph’s Hospital site in the west end of Toronto for myself. The other was for the next day at the St. Michael’s Hospital site in downtown Toronto for my wife. One thing that I did notice is that the booking site uses Cloudflare to stop denial of service attacks and provide load balancing. Presumably, to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance to book appointments. Thus my first piece of advice would be keep trying to book an appointment because appointments will become available. Once you book an appointment, which requires you to have your OHIP card handy, you get an email and a text message on your phone confirming your appointment. Make sure you read the email as it has a lot of handy info about the site you’re booked into. For example, parking info, whether there are washrooms available, and how early you should show up are all in that email.

On the day I had my appointment, I drove down to St. Joseph’s Hospital and arrived at the parking garage 15 minutes early. A five minute walk later, I got to the vaccine site. It was well signed and easy to find. Once I entered the clinic, I was greeted by a security guard who quizzed me about what time my appointment was. Once I replied, I was instructed to sanitize my hands and I was handed a paper mask via a pair of tongs to go on top of the cloth mask that I was wearing. I was then directed to a station where I was asked to show my OHIP card and I was quizzed about a variety of things including if I had COVID or I was exposed to anyone with COVID. I was then directed to a second station where I was quizzed again about the same items and I was asked to show my OHIP card again. After that I was asked to stand in line. There were five people ahead of me and there were clear places to show where you should stand to ensure physical distancing. I also noted that there was a booth where a woman was preparing syringes with the vaccine. Once the syringe was prepared, another person would pick up the syringe and escort the person at the front of the line to a booth. In my case, I was in line for a grand total of 5 minutes before being escorted to a booth. In the booth the Dr. quizzed me about exactly the same things that I was quizzed about by the first two booths that I had been at earlier.

I will say that they are thorough.

After that, I finally got the vaccine. Moderna in my case. Not that it really matters as the best vaccine is the one that goes in your arm. More on that in a bit. I was then escorted to a “recovery area” where I had to take a number and wait for 15 minutes to see if I had any reactions to the vaccine. The number was entered into a iPad which started an individual timer for me which is pretty slick. When my number was called, was escorted to a check out area where my information was confirmed including my email address and my cell phone number. I was then told I would get an email and text message when my next appointment was booked. I then left the facility. I wasn’t three steps out the door before my iPhone dinged and I got a text message saying that my next appointment was booked. It was booked for 112 days from last Monday. I know that because I asked Siri how many days it was until my next appointment.

Total time invested: 30 minutes.

Side effects? Well, here’s what my wife and I experienced:

  • In my case, my body temperature went up to about 99 degrees Fahrenheit after the vaccine. Also for about a couple of days, I felt lethargic. But by the weekend I was back to normal. As mentioned earlier, I got the Moderna vaccine.
  • In the case of my wife, she had bouts of dizzy spells for about a day or so and was lethargic. But was normal again by the weekend as well. I should note that she got the Pfizer vaccine.
  • In both of our cases, the injection site which was our respective left arms were sore and swollen for couple of days. But both of those things disappeared by the weekend.

So with that out of the way, I want to cover a few touchy points.

  • I’ve been asked if I had a preference in terms of vaccine brand as some vaccines, specifically the Astra Zeneca and Johnson and Johnson have been linked to rare blood clots. The answer is no. The best vaccine is the one that goes in your arm as it’s going to give you protection from COVID. And given that these blood clots happen less than 1% of the time, and your chances of catching COVID is far higher than that, I’ll take my chances with the vaccine.
  • I’ve been asked if I was hesitant in terms of getting the vaccine. The answer is no. But not everyone is like me. If you’re hesitant about getting the vaccine, that’s okay. You have the right to feel however you feel. But I would say that you need to seek out whatever information that you need from reputable sources to give you to comfort level you need to get the vaccine. I would recommend this link for reputable info if you’re in Canada. This link if you are in the US. And this link if you’re in the UK. There are likely similar links for other countries as people from over 20 countries visit this blog every single day. But like I said, seek out reputable information and make your call based on facts rather than what you see on Facebook or Twitter.
  • The most important thing that I would say is that getting the vaccine isn’t about you. It’s about those around you. Yes it is true that if you get the vaccine that your chances of having a severe COVID related outcome drops dramatically. But it’s about spreading COVID around to others. While there is still a risk of that happening even if you have had the vaccine, which is why you need to still follow public health advice after you get it, that risk drops dramatically if you get the vaccine. So in effect, you are protecting others by getting a vaccine. Specifically your friends and family. It’s also the best way that the world has at present to get out of this pandemic and get back to something approaching normality. And every vaccinated person moves the metaphorical needle closer to that goal.

In closing, if I had to grade the whole experience, I would grade it an “A-“. The minus comes from the fact that I had to try really had to get appointments for myself and my wife. The rest of the experience was top shelf. And that was cemented by the fact that my wife had pretty much the same experience the next day at the St. Michael’s site for Unity Health. Thus if you are eligible for the COVID vaccine, I would recommend getting it as soon as you can. While the process requires you to invest some time up front, the long term benefit is going to be worth it. Which is we can get on with our lives sooner.