How do I get the coronavirus vaccine in Simcoe Muskoka?
BARRIE, ONT. -- The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has a community strategy to vaccinate the majority of over half a million residents over several months.
The health unit follows Ontario's three-phased plan for vaccine distribution, which involves vaccinating thousands of residents daily through various vaccine clinics.
Here are some of your questions answered about the vaccination program across Simcoe Muskoka.
WHO CAN GET VACCINATED RIGHT NOW?
The Ontario government has outlined a three-phased approach that prioritized vaccinations for the most vulnerable, including seniors and high-risk residents.
Adults 18+ Residents in this age group can book an appointment as of May 18 using the provincial online booking system.
Children 12 to 17 Children in this age group can have an appointment booked to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Parents or guardians must accompany children at their appointment.
AstraZeneca The province paused first doses of the AstraZeneca shot. Those who already received the first shot are cleared to get their second AstraZeneca shot when their time comes, or they can choose to receive a dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
WHO IS NEXT IN LINE?
The health unit is following the province's vaccination program and will accept appointments from eligible residents (see above).
HOW WILL I FIND OUT WHEN I CAN RECEIVE THE VACCINE?
To check when you will be eligible for the vaccine, head to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's website for updates.
WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
Book an appointment online or call the provincial booking line at 1-833-943-3900 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week..
The system doesn't allow group bookings, so each individual needs their own appointment.
Alternatively, check the SMDHU website for more details on how to book an appointment.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE MY APPOINTMENT?
Do not arrive early for your appointment, and wear a mask.
Dress for the weather because you could be waiting outdoors.
Bring an Ontario health card or proof of eligibility.
Indigenous adults need to bring proof of ancestry and residency to confirm eligibility. Contact the local Indigenous organization if these documents are readily available.
Eligible child care workers are required to bring a letter from their employer to their vaccination appointment.
Children under 18 need a parent or guardian to accompany them at their appointment.
WHO HAS ALREADY RECEIVED THE VACCINE?
COVID-19 immunizations began in Simcoe Muskoka on Dec. 22, 2020.
Roughly 90 per cent of long-term care and retirement home residents in Simcoe Muskoka have received their first dose of vaccine, with the majority having already received their second dose.
WHEN DO I GET MY SECOND DOSE?
The province accelerated second doses for Simcoe Muskoka residents after declaring the region a Delta variant hot spot.
Residents who don't have their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are believed to be less protected against the Delta variant, which is said to be 50 per cent more transmissible than other strains.
Starting June 21
Residents who received their first dose before May 10 can book their second shot.
Starting June 23
Adults 18+ who received their first dose on or before May 30 can book their second dose.
Starting June 28
Adults 18+ who got their first shot after May 10 can book their second.
Children 12 to 17 are expected to be able to book their second doses sometime after Aug. 9.
Residents who had AstraZeneca for their first dose can either have it again or opt for Moderna or Pfizer.
WHERE ARE THE VACCINES BEING DISTRIBUTED?
There are various locations across Simcoe County and Muskoka for vaccination clinics. Drive-thru and mobile clinics are also available.
The health unit will use pop-up clinics for more remote areas.
WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
The SMDHU can help with any questions or concerns by calling 705-721-7520 head to the health unit's website.