More than 4,100 COVID-19 vaccination bookings Monday quickly filled up all available appointments this week for people aged 70 and older in Grey-Bruce, on the first day that cohort could book them.
A total of 11 health unit jurisdictions began allowing those 70 and older to book a shot Monday. Toronto started taking bookings for that group Saturday.
The next time people in this age group will be able to book appointments in Grey-Bruce will be about Thursday, when locations and dates of clinics for next week should be visible on the province’s booking website, health unit staff said Monday.
“The advice is just to stay calm and be patient and follow the 3 W’s until we have have enough vaccines,” Dr. Ian Arra, the Grey-Bruce medical officer of health, said Monday in an interview.
Three W’s includes washing hands, wearing a mask and watching your distance from others.
“Obviously the amounts (of vaccine) we are receiving are proportionate to our population and adjusted to the fact that we are a low-risk area,” Arra said. The vaccination rate in Grey-Bruce is around 16.4 per cent, while provincially it’s 13.4 per cent as of Sunday, Arra noted.
The vast majority of bookings Monday were for people in the 70-plus group, health unit staff said. Some other bookings were for health-care workers, for example.
Locally, there are 9,929 people aged 70 to 75. The total number of people 70 and older in Grey-Bruce is 27,362, according to health unit figures.
This week’s vaccine shipment totalled 5,850 doses, with more doses possibly to be squeezed from some vials. Next week Grey-Bruce is scheduled to receive 4,680 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and another 1,800 doses of Moderna.
Those in the current priority groups may book their appointment online at ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by calling Provincial Telephone Booking System at 1-888-999-6488.
If you have an appointment through your health care provider, you don’t need to book another appointment. If you have not booked an appointment through your health care provider, use the provincial booking system, the health unit advises.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit’s COVID-19 vaccination program plan aims to vaccinate at least 75 per cent of people who are eligible to receive the vaccination within provincially prescribed timelines in Grey-Bruce.
There are 135,715 Grey-Bruce residents 16 years and older and vaccinating 75 per cent of them would total 96,000, which the plan says will require plan 198,000 individual doses. Vaccines used in Grey-Bruce to date require two doses.
In addition to Grey-Bruce, bookings beginning Monday for those 70 years and older were permitted in Hamilton, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington, Lambton, Leeds-Grenville and Lanark, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Simcoe-Muskoka, Timiskaming, and York Region.
The province said the bookings were vaccine-dependent. It noted the latest delay in shipment of the Moderna vaccine, initially planned for March 30 but now is delayed until Wednesday, April 7.
As of Saturday “over three-quarters” of Ontario residents 80 and older have received at least one dose and more than one-third of residents 75 to 79 have had their first shot.
For general information about the vaccine and its rollout, see the Grey Bruce Health Unit’s webpage www1.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/COVID-19/Vaccines.