People aged 40 and older, those with health conditions that put them at greater risk of complications from COVID-19 and a larger group of essential workers will all get the chance to book a vaccination appointment in Ottawa this week.
The Ontario government announced Monday morning that people with at-risk health conditions, such as diabetes, dementia, diagnosed mental disorders and heart disease will be able to book vaccine appointments across the province via the centralized booking system on Tuesday starting at 8 a.m.
Also eligible at that time are the second group of people who can’t work from home. This includes grocery and other retail workers, people working in the court and justice systems and workers in construction and manufacturing as well as “other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and spread.”
Starting Thursday at 8 a.m., all Ottawans who were born in 1981 or earlier will be eligible to book a vaccine as well. Anyone aged 40 and older is already eligible to get a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at local pharmacies.
Four Ottawa pharmacies in COVID-19 hot spots were also given a limited supply of Moderna vaccines over the weekend, offering the shot to anyone aged 18 and older regardless of their address.
Ontario has been expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility every week in May, with expectations that every adult aged 18 and older in Ontario will be able to book an appointment in the week of May 24.
Ottawa’s vaccine distribution task force has released appointments only through to the end of May, but will add more slots at its community clinics once future vaccine deliveries are confirmed.
The city is also continuing to host pop-up clinics in neighbourhoods hit hardest by COVID-19. These drop-in clinics, which do not require an appointment and are open to anyone living in these communities aged 18 and older, will come to the Parkwood Hills, Carlington and Bayshore/Belltown neighbourhoods this week, according to a memo sent from the task force last week.
Ottawa also stood up a temporary “mega” pop-up clinic at the Infinity Convention Centre over the weekend to vaccinate residents who live in postal codes deemed “hot spots” by the provincial government. This clinic will be open next weekend as well.
Ottawa has administered more than 400,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, with 43 per cent of the eligible population in the city protected by at least one dose.
Next month, Ottawa’s task force will look to bolster capacity at sites such as the Nepean Sportsplex as well as the St. Laurent Complex, should the Indigenous vaccine clinic currently there no longer need the space. The Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park could also come online as needed, the memo said last week.
The vaccine task force is also looking at plans to open additional clinics, including drive-thru options, as well as options should Ontario move up the timing of second doses from the current four-month intervals. The province also announced Monday that it would move up second doses for certain high-risk health-care workers starting at the end of the week.