By: Laura Steiner
The Region Of Halton is expanding its list of priority populations eligible for COVID19 vaccines.Effective Friday April 16, the following four groups will be added to the list of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Individuals (age 18 and older) with highest-risk and high-risk health conditions and one essential caregiver:
- highest-risk health conditions include: organ transplant recipients; hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients; and people with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis), hematological malignancy diagnosed within the past year, or kidney disease (eGFR <30): and
- high-risk health conditions include: obesity (body mass index over 40), or receiving treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, immunity-weakening medications), and intellectual or developmental disabilities (e.g., Down syndrome).
- Essential workers (age 18 and older) who cannot work from home (Group 1 as identified by Province):
- elementary/secondary school workers (including educators, custodial, school bus drivers, administrative staff);
- workers responding to critical events (including police, fire, special constables, children’s aid society workers, emergency management, and critical infrastructure restoration workers);
- enforcement, inspection and compliance roles (including by-law enforcement, building inspectors, food inspectors, animal welfare inspectors, border inspection officers, and labour inspectors/WSIB field workers);
- all licensees, employees and students on an educational placement who interact directly with children in licensed child care centres and in authorized recreation and skill building programs;
- licensed home child care and in-home service providers, employees of a home child care agency and students on an educational placement;
- foster care agency workers (including customary care providers);
- food manufacturing and distribution workers;
- agriculture and farm workers; and
- funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers.
- Adults 50+ in an identified hotspot area (Adults 50 years of age and older living in the L9E postal code area, in Milton).
- Remaining health care workers who live or work in Halton and cannot work from home.
Residents in those groups listed above are asked to book through the Region’s website, or by calling 311. “In addition to our mobile teams, our community clinics operate seven days a week,” Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr said. The postal L9E has been identified as one the provincial hotspots for COVID-19, having reported positivity rates as high as 13.4% in January. The vaccine availability will be based on supply from the federal government
“All vaccines are approved by Health Canada are safe and effective in preventing severe illness and complications from COVID-19,” Halton Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hamidah Meghani said. Halton residents 55 years of age and older are eligible to visit any one of 19 area pharmacies offering the AstraZeneca vaccine. Appointments can be booked through the provincial website.
Residents are advised to continue following public health guidelines including physical distancing, and wearing a mask. Ontario has entered a Stay-at-Home Order for the next four weeks.