Public Health Changes Who Can Drop-In, and Who Has to Book For a Shot

It’s been a long week of bad news and it’s only January 5, whether or not the following news is bad may depend on your point of view though. On Wednesday, Wellingt0n-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced that they’re changing who can just drop by a vaccine clinic, and who has to go through regular channels to book an appointment. On the bright side, if you still need a first shot, this is your time!

In a notice sent out to the media on Wednesday, public health said that they were changing eligibility for drop-ins at vaccine clinics after receiving new direction from the Province. If you’re a…

  • Child between the ages of 5 and 11 getting your first or second shot
  • Resident 12 years and over getting your first or second shot
  • Adult 68 years old and older getting a booster
  • School staff or teachers getting a booster
  • Or, any childcare educator or staff (licenced and unlicenced) getting a booster

…You can drop in any vaccine clinic to get your shot without booking an appointment. Everyone else between the ages of 18 and 67, you still have to schedule an appointment to get a shot through either Public Health’s vaccine booking porthole or by calling 1-844-780-0202.

In an additional note, public health said that supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are limited at the moment, so only people 30 years old and under will be given that mRNA vaccine for the time being. Everyone else will be given Moderna, and yes, it’s still okay to mix and match your doses.

“Mixing COVID-19 vaccines is safe, effective, and enables more Ontarians to benefit from the protection of a booster dose,” said public health in the statement. “Evidence suggests Moderna can induce somewhat higher immune response compared to Pfizer. Vaccination and boosters with Moderna may also provide longer lasting protection against infection and severe disease.

“Anyone with concerns is encouraged to discuss them with their vaccinator at the time of vaccination but no one should avoid getting a booster because they want to select a particular vaccine,” the statement added.

Presently, WDG Public Health is running 15 clinics in the region, including five in Guelph alone. You can now receive a vaccine shot at the public health office on Chancellors Way, and clinics at Stone Road Mall, the Linamar plant at 700 Woodlawn West, the Mitchell Athletics Centre at the University of Guelph, and Riverwood Clinic on Emma Street behind Homewood.

Vaccines continue to be important given public health’s most recent update about outbreaks in local long-term care homes and how the virus is once again spreading with incredible speed. There are now 14 facilities reporting outbreaks in the region including the General Hospital, the Elliott Community, and Homewood. Outbreaks in St. Joseph’s, Lapointe Fisher, and Eden House have all been declared in just the last few days, and the outbreak at the Village of Riverside Glen has now been expanded to include the whole facility.

There was a relatively tepid 45 new cases in the region on Wednesday, after public health announced nearly 1,500 new cases over the three-day New Year’s weekend. There are now 2,400 total active cases, down from an all-time high of nearly 2,600 yesterday, but there have now been over 14,000 total COVID cases in the region since March 2020, when the 10,000 mark was only crossed less than one month ago. There was also an additional fatality from COVID over the weekend to bring that total up to 129.

Since January 2, public health has given out 7,645 vaccine shots with more than 7,000 of those being third dose boosters. Now 82.3 per cent of people eligible for the shots in the region are fully vaccinated, and 88 per cent have at least one vaccine dose; those numbers in Guelph alone are 84.1 per cent and 90.2 per cent.

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