Unlike many other regions across Ontario, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit will not be able to book appointments beginning on March 22 for individuals 75 to 79 raising some concerns about the vaccine rollout here.
The Health Unit announced this week that it is hoping to vaccinate as many as 5700 residents 80 and over next week.
In spite of the provincial announcement, the Health Unit says it is still working through phase 1 priorities.
Booking of phase 2 priority vaccinations, which includes seniors aged 60-79 years of age, will begin when the majority of phase 1 vaccinations are near completion.
The Health Unit asks that individuals aged 75-79 DO NOT try to book appointments at this time as it will not result in an appointment being created and it will slow the booking process down for others.
To date, over 8,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to residents in our district, and more than 5,700 individuals aged 80 or older will be receiving their COVID-19 vaccine next week as we continue to work through phase 1.
“We are truly happy to see the interest of residents in getting their COVID-19 vaccines,” states Andrea McLellan, Director of COVID-19 Immunization Strategy at the Health Unit.
“I would like to remind the public that everyone who wishes to get a COVID-19 vaccine will get one in time and patience is needed as we move through the various priority groups and phases.”
The Health Unit says it will notify the public when it is ready to start booking those aged 75 years and up.
The Health Unit, with the support of community partners, has completed vaccinations in long-term care homes. The next priorities for vaccine rollout in our district are advancing steadily, including alternate level of care patients, high priority health care workers, staff and caregivers in retirement homes, indigenous adults, and adult recipients of chronic home care.
Simcoe-Muskoka bookings begin Monday for Seniors 75+
Meantime, south of our region, Seniors 75 and older can pre-register now and throughout the weekend for their COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s website at www.smdhu.org and, as of Monday, directly book their appointment using the provincial booking system.
This age group includes people born in 1946 or earlier and joins high priority frontline health care workers in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s Guidance on Health Care Worker Prioritization; essential caregivers of residents in long-term care and retirement homes; all Indigenous adults and their household members; and adult recipients of chronic home care as those who are eligible to pre-register.
"Once a person has pre-registered on the health unit website they will be placed in the queue to receive a vaccine appointment," according to a news release.
"They will be sent an email invitation from the province with a booking code to book their appointment on the provincial booking system. Both first and second dose appointments will be generated at this time."
Simcoe Muskoka officials say anyone who received their first COVID-19 immunization prior to March 10 are reminded that their second dose appointment has been cancelled and will be rebooked later. Second doses are now being given 16 weeks after the first dose as recommended by the National Advisory Committee for Immunization. This allows Ontario to maximize the number of people who can benefit from the strong protection provided by the first dose.