Residents in London and Middlesex County will no longer need to book an appointment to get an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, local health officials said Tuesday.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit says that starting on Wednesday, people looking to get a first dose of the vaccine will be able to walk in to one of the region’s four mass vaccination clinics and get one.
The health unit says the walk-in first doses will be available up to an hour before the clinics close, “to ensure that vials of vaccine are used fully and that no partial vials are left over at the end of clinic operations each day.”
The announcement comes as Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, warns of a “fourth wave of COVID” solely among unvaccinated residents.
While the health unit has reported single-digit case counts for more than a week, officials say almost all of the cases involve the roughly one-fifth of the local population that have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.
Roughly 78.4 per cent of people 18 and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of July 10, the most recent data available, while 48.9 per cent have been fully immunized with two doses.
The move to implement walk-in vaccinations, the health unit says, is intended to make it easier for those people to start a two-dose summer and to be protected by COVID-19 and the more contagious Delta variant.
The news comes days before the province is set to move into step 3 of its three-step reopening plans on Friday, which will see expanded limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, and loosened restrictions on dining, retail, and other sectors.
Last week, the health unit announced it would hold 13 pop-up vaccination clinics between July 8 and Aug. 10 at locations throughout the city, as well as in Parkhill, Strathroy, and Glencoe.
Those pop-up clinics are for first or second doses, and do not require any appointments. More clinics are expected to be added in the near future.
— With files from Jacquelyn LeBel