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COVID-19 vaccine update: here's how to book and who can book this week

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has started a daily standby list for last-minute vaccine appointments
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Ontario has been opening up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario this week to include those with health conditions that put them at risk for more serious COVID-19 infections. 

As of Tuesday, May 11, those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in the Simcoe-Muskoka region are as follows: 

  • Individuals turning 50 and over in 2021 
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals 
  • Those with highest-risk health conditions including: 
    • organ and bone marrow transplant recipients 
    • pregnancy
    • severe kidney disease
    • anyone diagnosed with blood, bone marrow, or lymph node cancer in the last year
    • one essential caregiver for individuals with the conditions in this category if those individuals require regular and sustained assistance with personal care or activities of daily living
  • Those with high-risk health conditions including  
    • body mass index over 40 
    • treatments causing immunosuppression (like chemotherapy) 
    • intellectual or developmental disabilities
    • one essential caregiver for individuals with the conditions in this category if those individuals require regular and sustained assistance with personal care or activities of daily living
  • Those with at-risk health conditions  
    • immune deficiencies and autoimmune disorders
    • stroke and cerebrovascular disease
    • dementia
    • diabetes
    • liver disease
    • all other cancers
    • respiratory diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy
    • spleen problems (like asplenia)
    • heart disease
    • hypertension with end organ damage
    • diagnosed mental disorder
    • substance-use disorders
    • sickle cell disease
    • thalassemia
    • immunocompromised
    • other disabilities requiring direct support care in the community
  • People who are 18 and over and cannot work from home who fall under Group One including:
    • elementary and secondary school workers as well as childcare workers
    • workers responding to emergencies
    • agriculture and farm workers
    • food manufacturing and distribution workers
    • foster care agenda workers
    • funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers
  •  People who are 18 and over and cannot work from home who fall under Group Two, including
    • essential and critical retail workers
    • workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting the COVId-19 response, construction, and other essential busineses
    • social workers and social services staff who provide in-client services
    • courts and justice system workers
    • transportation, warehousing and distribution workers
    • electricity system workers
    • communications infrastructure workers
    • water and wastewater management workers
    • financial services workers
    • veterinarians and veterinary teams
    • waste management workers
    • oil, petroleum, natural gas, and propane gas workers
    • mine workers
    • uranium processing workers

Online or phone booking 

Those who are eligible based on the above criteria can book an appointment for a vaccine using the Ontario website here, or by phone at 1-833-943-3900 (available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day. You will need an email address to book online, but it is not required to book by phone. 

To book an appointment by phone or online using the provincial system, you will need a health card. 

If you do not have a health card, call the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit vaccine booking support line at 705-721-7520, ext. 5997.  

Daily standby list

There is now a standby list created daily to include only people who are already eligible for a vaccine, who have no received a single dose of vaccine yet, and who can get to an appointment within 30 to 45 minutes of receiving a call. 

To make the list for that day, you have to fill out a form each day starting at 8 a.m. (same day). You can (and are encouraged to) still book an appointment for a vaccination through the Ontario rollout or through the pharmacy program. If you are called for the standby list, you can cancel your existing appointment. 

Fill out the standby list form daily here.

Pharmacy program

Pharmacies across Ontario are providing Astra Zeneca vaccine to those 40 years old or older. Appointments for this vaccine must be booked through the pharmacy only. You can find a list of Ontario pharmacies participating in the program on the Ontario website here.

Hotspot

The only provincially identified 'hotspot region' in Simcoe-Muskoka region is the L3Z postal code in Bradford West Gwillimbury. Anyone living in that postal code area who is 18 years old or older this year can book an appointment online here, or by calling 1-833-943-3900.

There are also pop-up clinics available to anyone aged 18 or older living anywhere in Bradford West Gwillimbury, but appointments for those pop-up clinics can only be booked through the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury website.

Second doses

Currently, the province is providing second dose vaccines to people 16 weeks following their first dose. There are some exceptions for health conditions (transplant recipients, dialysis patients and some cancer patients). If you belong to the eligible patient group, you can book your second dose appointment here.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported staff are reaching out to those who had their second-dose appointments cancelled and are now eligible for a second dose. That includes people who had one dose at a Simcoe-Muskoka community clinic between Jan. 9 and Feb. 8.

If you received a COVID-19 vaccine first dose through a pharmacy or health care provider, they will contact you for a second-dose appointment. These appointments have to be booked through the pharmacy or health care provider, and cannot be booked on the Ontario government website. 

Coming soon

According to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, the vaccine will be available to younger age groups over the next few weeks. 

Starting Thursday, May 13, those turning 40 or older in 2021 can book an appointment for a COVID vaccine. 

The age eligibility drops to include those turning 30 or older in 2021 starting the week of May 17. 

Eligibility drops further for the week of May 24 to include anyone turning 18 or older during 2021. 


Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor. She has 12 years of experience as a local journalist.
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