Ottawa Public Health says ineligible residents booked COVID-19 vaccines via Ontario system

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Four-year-olds booked for a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 17-year-olds with a booster shot lined up should not go to their scheduled appointments in Ottawa, the local health unit says.

Ottawa Public Health said in a Twitter thread Tuesday that an issue with Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine portal has led to ineligible residents booking shots.

The two age groups affected by the miscommunication are four-year-olds who are looking for a first shot and youth aged 17 hoping for a booster shot.

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OPH said it was told by the province on Monday that residents under five years of age are not eligible for vaccination, nor is anyone under age 18 eligible for a booster.

Residents or parents of kids who fit these criteria but already have appointments booked should not go to the clinic for their shots, OPH said.

“I can recognize this has been pretty frustrating for families where that is the case,” Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said during a call with reporters Tuesday.

The Ontario Ministry of Health said two weeks ago that kids born in 2017 would not be eligible to get their vaccines in the new year until their birthdays, despite previous guidance that allowed kids turning five in 2021 to get their first dose.

The snafu creates new uncertainty for parents who were able to get their four-year-olds in for a first dose in the first few days of 2022, but are now left without guidance for when or if their child can get a second dose within the recommended eight-week interval.

Etches said OPH will reach out directly to the families in this circumstance.

“We’ll make sure we can get back to the families with the answer when it’s clearer.”

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The health unit said the province expects the system to be fixed by Jan. 7.

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