With increased vaccine supply in the region, and guidance from the Province, Southwestern Public Health, along with Middlesex-London and Huron Perth Public Health units, are expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to additional priority groups identified in the first phase of Ontario’s vaccination plan.
Starting March 1, eligibility includes community members who are 80 years of age and older (born in 1941 or earlier) and Indigenous adults who are 55 years of age and older.
“With the addition of these priority groups, we are making significant progress on Phase One vaccinations in our communities,” said medical officer of health Dr. Joyce Lock.
Healthcare workers in provincially-prioritized groups will also be able to start getting their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Among the groups now eligible to receive the vaccine are:
- Staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and any residents of these settings that have not yet received a first dose of vaccine.
- Alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home for seniors.
- Hospital and acute care healthcare workers in frontline roles with COVID-19 patients and/or with a high-risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Patient-facing healthcare workers involved in the COVID-19 response.
- Medical First Responders (ORNGE, paramedics, firefighters providing medical first response).
- Patient-facing community healthcare workers serving specialized populations.
- Residents and staff in other congregate care settings for seniors, including assisted living facilities.
- Frontline healthcare workers working in hospital inpatient settings and hospital procedural areas, including surgical care, obstetrics, endoscopy, operating rooms, dialysis, imaging, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Other ambulatory and out-patient care areas are not included at this time.
Eligible healthcare workers will be contacted by their employer about appointment booking.
Clinics local to the Southwestern Public Health region will open the week of March 15, with one clinic in Elgin County (St. Thomas) and another in Oxford County (Woodstock). Booking details will be shared the week of March 8.
Individuals aged 80 or older, and Indigenous adults aged 55 or older, who prefer not to wait can book an appointment at the Western Fair Agriplex beginning March 2 by calling 226-289-3560. Appointments at the Agriplex are limited to March 6-8 only, as vaccine supply remains low.
Visit swpublichealth.ca/COVID19vaccine for a full list of who is currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and other updates about Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy.