COVID-19 vaccines now open to 65+ in Chatham-Kent

A public health nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine. (File photo supplied by Southwestern Public Health)

The COVID-19 vaccine is now being offered to younger age groups in Chatham-Kent.

The local public health unit announced Tuesday morning that those 65 years of age and older can now call the COVID-19 Vaccination Line at 519-351-1010 to book an appointment. Residents 65 years and over with a last name starting with A-M can call Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while residents 65 years and over with a last name starting with N-Z can call Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Those booking appointments can leave a message 24 hours a day Monday to Friday, but Chatham-Kent Public Health said due to call volumes, it may take a few days before your call is returned.

“There’s a lot of people demographically in that cohort,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health. “We’re really getting into the baby boomers now, which is a big jump in the population, and it’s going to take a while to get through that number of people.”

Dr. Colby asks that callers be patient, and added that you do not need to call again if you have left a message. Staff members at the mass vaccination clinic will be returning calls daily between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. to schedule appointments at the John Bradley Centre in Chatham, however, they will not be returning calls on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Dr. Colby says they have just over 20,000 vaccinated now in Chatham-Kent.

“Which is just over 18 percent of our total population, so that’s certainly good news,” said Dr. Colby. “Many of the people that have been vaccinated are among the most vulnerable that we have to this virus.”

Meantime, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Chatham-Kent has dropped to 80. Five new cases were reported this morning, but there were also 15 more recoveries.

The local public health unit is also reporting a new outbreak at a workplace, but no other details have been released.

Dr. Colby added that he is concerned about variants after a recent report from the Ontario Science Table showed variants now make up 67 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the province.

“Some of these are in younger people, which really is concerning,” said Dr. Colby. “These numbers are very similar to the numbers that we faced before the last Ontario-wide lockdown.”

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