Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination expands

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Those 60 years of age and older are now eligible to directly book their COVID-19 vaccination at community clinics via Ontario.ca/bookvaccine as the provincial COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan moves into Phase 2. 
“The movement into Phase 2 is encouraging and hopeful news for our communities. The faster people are vaccinated, the sooner our communities will be protected, and the closer we are to bringing the pandemic under control,” said Simcoe Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner. “Expanding immunization into Phase 2 groups follows on the heels of another important milestone – we have now administered more than 100,000 doses of vaccine in Simcoe Muskoka, which includes more than 18,000 individuals who have received both doses of the vaccine. It is important to note that it is expected that it will take until the end of June to complete this phase, and is dependent on vaccine supply. We appreciate everyone’s ongoing patience as we move through the various groups.”
Other groups are also eligible in this phase, including those in the highest-risk health condition category, followed later by the high-risk category, plus one essential caregiver where eligible. These individuals may be contacted directly by local hospitals and/or primary care providers in order to advise them on the details of how they can receive vaccination.
The highest-risk health condition category includes:
• Organ transplant recipients
• Stem cell (Hematopoietic) transplant recipients
• People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
• People with cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes (Haematological malignancy) diagnosed less than one year ago
• Kidney disease (defined by eGFR< 30).
High-risk health conditions include:
• Obesity (BMI > 40)
• Other treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy)
• Intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Additionally, adults aged 50 years and older (born in 1971 or earlier) who live in “hot spot” priority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 will be eligible for vaccination through specific immunization clinics, which will be announced separately. In Simcoe Muskoka, the province has identified the area of Bradford East as a “hot spot” priority community, based on ongoing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission, hospitalization and death.
For more information about the COVID-19 immunization plan, please visit our COVID-19 pages at www.smdhu.org.

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