Northwestern Ontario residents, over the age of 80, will be able to get their first COVID-19 vaccine as early as March 22.
Medical Officer of Health with the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, says residents will be able to use Ontario’s new online appointment booking system to schedule their appointment at their local mass vaccination site, which launches on March 15.
Once the system is launched, healthcare workers and seniors aged 80 or older will be able to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
Mass vaccination sites will take place in Kenora, Dryden, Red Lake, Ear Falls, Ignace, Sioux Lookout, Rainy River, Emo, Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, Fort Frances, Pickle Lake and Atikokan in northwestern Ontario.
Young Hoon says by the first week of April, there will be a rotating schedule of vaccination clinics and each of the above 12 communities will have a clinic once every two weeks. The City of Kenora will have a weekly vaccination site.
“We’ll be in each of our 12 communities at least every two weeks. Healthcare partners from around the region will be working with NWHU staff for clinics. All clinics are by appointment only, and there will be no drop-in vaccination appointments. There will be evening and weekend clinic hours,” adds Young Hoon.
She says the clinics will be open to specific priority groups, outlined by the provincial government. In Phase 2 of the provincial roll-out, Ontario says clinics will be open to older adults as specified above, as well as those in high-risk settings like shelters, frontline essential workers, essential workers who cannot work from home and other populations that are at a greater risk of illness.
During Question Period at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, Health Minister Christine Elliot announced Ontario would be revealing a list of over 300 pharmacies that plan to administer doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, approved by Health Canada late last month.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that every Canadian who wants to get vaccinated will be able to by the end of September 2021. Only those 18 or above are able to receive a vaccine at this time.
The NWHU notes that even once immunized, you must continue to practice all COVID-19 prevention measures. The number of shots given will be closely monitored throughout the immunization process to assess when it’s safe for prevention measures to be loosened.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is asked to get tested and self-isolate immediately, and to stay in isolation until your test results are known.