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Vaccination booking starts Monday for NBPS residents 80+

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Seniors 80 years and older in the North Bay Parry Sound District can book a COVID vaccine appointment starting Monday.

The region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jim Chirico shared the news during Thursday’s weekly update.

The Health Unit’s COVID-19 Vaccine Public Health Nurse Lead, Scott Thibodeau then gave more details on the rollout.

“On Monday, March 15th the Ministry’s online appointment booking system and our local appointment booking call centre will go live,” Said Thibodeau. “Appointments for seniors 80 years of age or older will be the first ones available to book,”

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He confirmed that dedicated clinics across the district for those 80 years of age and older will begin on Monday, March 22nd.

How to book an appointment online:

  1. Have your green Ontario health card ready. Unfortunately, Ontario health cards with the red stripe will not be accepted in the online booking system.
  2. Visit www.myhealthunit.ca/COVID-19Vaccine and click “Book an Appointment” to open the provincial Online Booking System.
  3. Follow the online instructions.

How to book an appointment by phone:

  1. Have your green Ontario health card ready.
  2. Dial 1-800-563-2808 and choose option 5, then follow the prompts. The call centre will be open to book appointments from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  3. Please be patient. The Health Unit has all available staff working the phone lines in anticipation of your call. If you do not get through, please be patient and call back later.

Individuals who are from outside Ontario or Canada, or do not have an Ontario health card should contact the Ministry of Health Help Desk.

Vaccination clinics are currently scheduled to take place in North Bay, Mattawa and Sundridge. More clinic locations, dates and times will be added to the clinic schedule at www.myhealthunit.ca.

Individuals born after 1941 will not be able to book an appointment at this time. Although the province has announced expanded vaccination eligibility with the move into the second phase of the Provincial Vaccination Plan, the Health Unit continues to work on vaccinating priority groups in Phase 1.

Appointments for second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to be booked once the Health Unit receives more shipments of the vaccine and future clinic dates and locations are confirmed.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations, visit https://www.myhealthunit.ca/en/health-topics/covid-19-vaccine.asp.

Thibodeau said more information will follow regarding specifics on the dedicated clinics over the next week.

On accessibility concerns, Scott said “One of the things that were doing it when planning these clinics is relying on our event planning staff and the other Municipal Partners who have an intimate knowledge of their buildings and their facilities and we’re leaning on them as well as Consulting with them to try to eliminate barriers, accessibility barriers in particularly for seniors,”

Thibodeau said how many people can be vaccinated a day is a function of the number of clinics that can be run concurrently throughout the district as well as how many Healthcare Providers can reasonably fit in the venue.

He also adds the health unit is considering having vaccination clinics in some of the region’s small rural communities, “We are working with the hub communities nearest to those communities and looking at the numbers of the high-risk populations that we’re addressing and looking at the resources to be able to do so,” said Thibodeau.

As of Thursday morning, Thibodeau says the health unit has provided 5880 vaccinations in the district.

“We have completed full vaccinations for all long-term care home residents and First Nations elder care facilities in the district,” said Thibodeau.

And as of Friday, he said the health unit will have provided first doses to all retirement home staff, essential caregivers and residents as well as all long-term care home staff and essential caregivers.

Thibodeau also announced the health unit will be following the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations’ recommendations on vaccine dose interval.

“Dose interval between first and second doses is being increased to up to 16 weeks for the two-dose vaccines currently approved in Canada,”

As of yesterday, and with some limited exceptions, citizens will receive their second dose 16 weeks after the first dose, while anyone who already booked their second dose will have their appointments rescheduled.

He added, “the effectiveness of an extended dose interval will be monitored and assessed including Effectiveness against variance of concerns,”

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