Simcoe Muskoka to receive more doses of COVID vaccine
BARRIE, ONT. -- More doses of the COVID vaccine are coming to Simcoe Muskoka.
The Ontario government released its vaccine rollout plan that includes 17,550 Pfizer and 11,500 Moderna doses arriving the week of March 22.
Simcoe Muskoka is considered a hot spot based on higher transmission rates and hospitalizations related to the virus.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) health unit reports over 61,000 doses have been administered to date, with over 16,500 residents fully vaccinated.
The SMDHU is utilizing the provincial booking online portal and call centre to book appointments to be vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, over 30,000 appointments were booked by area residents.
In Simcoe Muskoka, over 7,500 seniors' home staff, 6,250 hospital staff, and 6,800 seniors 80 and older have received their first vaccine dose. Additionally, the health unit reports 94 per cent of long-term care and retirement home residents rolled up their sleeves for the vaccine.
Vaccination appointments are only available for individuals turning 80 this year or older as part of Phase One of Ontario's vaccination plan.
The next phase is anticipated to roll out in April and includes adults 60 to 79 in five-year increments, high-risk congregate settings like shelters and community living, and at-risk populations.
By July, the province hopes to start vaccinating the remaining population. The timelines are dependent on vaccine supply.
Simcoe Muskoka was named one of six public health units in the province to participate in a program that allows primary caregivers to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to patients 60 to 64.
Starting on March 12, family physicians started vaccinating adults 60 to 64 with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Eligible residents will be contacted for an appointment by their primary caregiver.
To date, over 900 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered by four Family Health Teams in Simcoe Muskoka.
The health unit has more than a dozen vaccination clinics currently open.
The region's medical officer of health said mobile and pop-up clinics would be coming for more remote areas.