Thursday will mark the one-year anniversary of the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization, a declaration that will remain in place until the majority of people are vaccinated for COVID-19. That effort is proceeding carefully, but there is cause for a bit more optimism today as Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is now taking names for the next phase of the vaccine rollout, and getting their lines jammed in the process.
“As the vaccine supply expands, we continue to focus on vaccinating Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph against COVID-19 as quickly as possible,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer in a statement. “The Province’s rapid distribution of vaccines across Ontario has facilitated the progress we are seeing in protecting the most vulnerable residents of our region.”
On Wednesday, WDGPH announced that the are now taking pre-registrations from people eligible for a vaccine in Phase 2 of the rollout. To register does not mean you automatically get a day and time to get a vaccine, but it does start the process and gives public health officials the contact and other information they need to eventually arrange a day and time for people to get a shot.
People eligible for the vaccine in Phase 2 includes everyone over the age of 60, individuals with some pre-existing health conditions, essential caregivers for people with high-risk health conditions, and essential workers that can’t work from home. Residents, staff, and primary caregivers at congregate settings like shelters, group homes, youth residential settings, and correctional facilities are also eligible for a vaccine.
News that pre-registration was open for people under Phase 2 prompted public health to post an advisory to their website that they were receiving an “extremely high” level of call volumes. Instead, they’re referring people to register at the public health website here. Public health also has a page that helps guide people on how to register online, and for additional help, people can get in touch with the Guelph or Wellington County public libraries.
On Wednesday, the Government of Ontario had a few vaccine announcements of their own. As of this coming Saturday, Guelph will be one of six communities along with Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, Peterborough, and Simcoe-Muskoka where primary care physicians will be able to offer patients doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Starting Wednesday, physician’s offices will be getting in touch with eligible patients between the ages of 60 and 64 to make an appointment to received their shots. It’s stressed that people should wait for their doctor’s office to get in touch with them, and not flood their doctor’s office with calls to make an appointment.
“We are just ramping up and mobilizing even more members of Team Ontario in our pharmacies and primary care settings,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement. “We have a plan to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible in order to keep people safe and we will do that as long as we have a steady supply from the federal government.”
On Friday, 325 pharmacies across Ontario will be also be offering doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by appointment to people between the ages of 60 and 64. This initial phase of the rollout through pharmacies focus on three health units – Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington – and it will be expanded once more vaccine supply becomes available.
“Opening up new channels to deliver the vaccine, through trusted health care partners like pharmacies and primary care providers, will enable us to reach even more people and we appreciate the effort to help make this happen,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
Unlike the commonly used Pfizer vaccine, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at regular fridge temperatures and is easier to transport, but people still require two doses of the vaccine to be effective.