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Hamilton expands vaccine program to 50+, high-risk health, ‘cannot work from home’ groups

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Hamilton expands vaccine program to 50+, high-risk health, ‘cannot work from home’ groups

FirstOntario Centre large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Hamilton, Ontario. (inthehammer photo)

The Hamilton health-care partners announced that effective Thursday (May 6) it’s expanding vaccine eligibility.

Residents who are 50 years of age and older (in 2021), individuals from the “high-risk health condition” population, and those individuals from the “Cannot Work from Home – Group 1” population are eligible to book an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

More than 3-million vaccines are expected to land in Ontario by the end of May and another 4-million through June.

Approximately 202,666 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in the city with upwards of 37.2 per cent of Hamiltonians over the age of 16 receiving at least one dose.

High-risk health conditions are categorized as:

  • Individuals with a BMI greater than 40
  • Individuals receiving other treatments that cause immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, immunity- weakening medications)
  • Individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities
  • One essential caregiver for individuals with the conditions in this category who require regular and sustained assistance with personal care or activities of daily living

Proof will be required when booking an appointment as having a high-risk health condition, according to Public Health.

Individuals with high-risk health conditions will receive their second dose at the 16-week second dose extended interval as per the Provincial Government.

People who cannot work from home who fall under Group One include:

  • Elementary or secondary school workers (including educators, custodial, school bus drivers, administrative staff)
  • Workers responding to critical events (e.g., police, fire, compliance, funeral, special constables, children’s aid society workers, emergency management, critical infrastructure restoration workers)
  • Enforcement, inspection and compliance roles (including by-law enforcement, building inspectors, food inspectors, animal welfare inspectors, border inspection officers, labour inspectors, WSIB field workers)
  • Individuals working in childcare (including all licensees, employees and students on educational placements who interact directly with children in licensed childcare centres and in authorized recreation and skill-building programs, licensed home child-care and in-home service providers, employees of home child care agencies.
  • Foster care agency workers (including customary care providers)
  • Food manufacturing and distribution workers
  • Agriculture and farm workers
  • Funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers

Meanwhile, the Ontario government announced Wednesday (May 5) that it’s expanding the use of the Moderna vaccine to the pharmacy channel this week.

Up to 60 pharmacies will participate, with locations in each of Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex, and York public health regions’ hot spot areas for individuals aged 18 and over.

Further expansion of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy channel will continue through May, according to the Province.

Participating pharmacies will be identified on the government website at covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.

Appointments are booked through the participating pharmacies.

Appointments for all other COVID-19 vaccinations can be booked through the provincial online booking system that can be found at hamilton.ca/VaccineBooking or by calling the Provincial call centre at 1-888-999-6488.

For those who do not have access to the internet or a computer, or do not have a valid Ontario photo health card, please call the Public Health Services COVID-19 Hotline at 905-974-9848, option 7 to book an appointment.

According to government data, more than 5.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario.

Over 92 per cent of residents aged 80-and-over and 90 per cent of residents aged 75 to 79 have received at least one dose.

More than 43 per cent of the provincial population aged 18 and over have received at least one dose and over 381,000 Ontarians are fully immunized, including 95 per cent of long-term care residents.

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