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First Dose Vaccinations Expanded to Additional Priority Groups

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With increased vaccine supply in the region, and guidance from the Province, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU), Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) and Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) will expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to additional priority groups identified in the first Phase of Ontario’s Vaccination Plan.

Starting today, the three health units are expanding eligibility to include additional groups of healthcare workers, Indigenous adults who are 55 years of age and older and community members who are 80 years of age and older.

“Being able to vaccinate our highest risk citizens is an exciting step,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

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 book their appointments are those who have pre-registered through their employer from the following groups:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Residents and staff in other congregate care settings for seniors, including assisted living facilities.
  • 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, including paramedics, police and firefighterswho are engaged in 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.

Healthcare workers will receive booking directions through their employer.

For a full list of all healthcare workers and sectors currently eligible for a first-dose, visit: https://www.healthunit.com/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility.

Appointments can be booked for Indigenous adults 55 years of age and older starting today; those 80 years of age and older will be able to start booking appointments on Tuesday, March 2, at 7:00 a.m. The online appointment scheduling website can be accessed at https://www.covidvaccinelm.ca/.

Those who do not have Internet access can call 226-289-3560, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week, to book an appointment over the phone. Information about booking an appointment can also be found on the Health Unit’s website: https://www.healthunit.com/covid-19-vaccine.

Since December 23rd, 2020, more than 33,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to eligible individuals within the region. Vaccination eligibility will be expanded as Ontario moves to the second and third Phases of the Provincial Vaccination Plan. The Provincial government has estimated that Phase two may begin as early as March, with plans to extend vaccination to more cohorts in the senior population. To learn more about Provincially-Prioritized groups, visit Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination.

Media Contact:

Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit, 519-663-5317, extension 2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell.)

Spokesperson:

Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit