Eligibility to book a COVID-19 vaccine expands across Ontario

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

Ontario is expanding the number of people that will soon be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment across the province.

As of Monday at 8 a.m., individuals who are 18 and over and live in one of the province’s designated hotspot communities can book an appointment at a mass immunization clinic.

There are currently a total of 114 hotspots throughout 13 regions in the province

In Windsor-Essex, there are seven postal codes that are deemed hotspots – N8H, N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, N9Y.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is also hosting two pop-up clinics in the city Monday.  For those who live or work in the N9A or N9C postal codes, the clinics are at St. Angela Hall on Erie Street and at Mackenzie Hall on Sandwich Street.  They open at 9 a.m. and will run either until the vaccines run out or 4 p.m.

There is also one postal code for Southwestern Public Health – N5H – which covers the town of Aylmer.

In addition, beginning Thursday at 8 a.m. the following groups throughout the province will also be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through a local health unit or through the province’s online booking system:

-Individuals turning 50 and over in 2021
-Individuals with high-risk health conditions
-People who cannot work from home who fall under Group One (including remaining elementary and secondary school workers)
-First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals in addition to the other channels previously available to book their appointment.

Priority populations who have been only able to book via the provincial call centre will now also be able to book online, including individuals with the highest risk health conditions, child care workers in licenced child care settings and education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs.

According to Health Minister Christine Elliot, the expanded eligibility is due to a stable increase in vaccine supply.

“With additional supply our government is increasing access to the COVID-19 vaccines in the communities hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Elliott. “Continuing to focus on getting vaccines in the arms of those most at risk will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 in these communities, protect our hospital capacity and save lives. I continue to urge everyone to sign up to receive the vaccine as soon as it’s your turn.”

Approximately 800,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario per week at the start of May, ramping up to 940,000 doses per week by the end of May.

The province is anticipating that it will be able to expand eligibility to all adults across Ontario as early as the week of May 24.

To date, Ontario has administered over 5.3 million COVID-19 vaccines.