Family doctors in Hamilton can start vaccinating select residents this month

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Published March 10, 2021 at 1:45 pm

Primary care providers such as family physicians will be able to vaccinate select residents between the ages of 60 and 64 (or born between 1957-1961) in Hamilton with the recently approved AstraZeneca shot.

On March 10, the province announced that it’s working to offer vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations, such as physician offices, in collaboration with public health units.

This initiative will begin in Peel (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon), Hamilton, Toronto, Guelph, Peterborough and Simcoe-Muskoka as of Saturday, March 13, 2021. Primary care providers will not be taking appointments by request but will be contacting eligible residents directly to book an appointment starting Wednesday (March 10).

They will only be offering the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine, so patients will not be able to request a Pfizer or Moderna shot.

“We are about to achieve a major milestone in our battle against COVID-19, by the end of the day we expect to reach the one million mark for doses administered and continue to lead the country in vaccinations completed,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement.

“But we are just ramping up and mobilizing even more members of Team Ontario in our pharmacies and primary care settings. We have a plan to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible in order to keep people safe and we will do that as long as we have a steady supply from the federal government.”

The province also announced that as of Friday, March 12, over 325 pharmacies will be offering the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine to eligible Ontarians. Peel and Hamilton residents, however, will not be able to get shots at pharmacies, as the initiative is only available in Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.

That said, the province said the vaccine rollout will be expanded to more pharmacies in other regions of the province as supply increases.

All vaccinations available through pharmacies will require an appointment to be made in advance.

The province says it’s preparing to move into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, with a focus on vaccinating populations based on age and risk.

Vaccinations continue to be offered to eligible residents (such as those 80 and older) at hospitals, mobile clinics and mass immunization clinics.

“Rolling out the pilot with pharmacy and primary care providers will enable us to prepare and refine our mass vaccine distribution plan for the months ahead,” said retired General Rick Hillier in a statement.

“This a significant step in our progress to make vaccines available to all Ontarians. As we enter Phase Two, we are ready and well-positioned with our public health partners to open mass vaccination sites and increase our capacity as more and more vaccines arrive each week.”

Phase One of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is nearing completion, with nearly one million doses administered and over 279,000 Ontarians fully immunized. Approximately 88 per cent of long-term care residents are fully immunized.

The province will launch an online booking system and a provincial customer service desk on March 15.

For the month of March, Ontario is expecting to receive 1,454,310 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 483,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Residents who are 80 or older can now book a vaccine appointment through their public health unit.

Cover photo courtesy of The Canadian Press

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