Peel Region’s top doctor is asking younger residents to postpone arranging COVID-19 booster appointments for the time being so that individuals over 50 can receive priority.
All of Peel’s existing vaccine appointments are filled until early February, according to Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh, and the area is striving to add hundreds of appointments daily to the provincial online booking portal.
“However, the difficulty is that roughly a million individuals in Peel were eligible for boosters on Monday, and even at peak capacity in spring with our other partners, our hospitals, our community partners, etcetera, online,” Loh said during a COVID-19 update on Wednesday.
With the overwhelming demand for booster shots, Loh is asking younger residents who have had two doses to refrain from booking their booster shots to allow the older population to get theirs as they are more at risk from the virus.
“In general for example, if you’re on a crowded subway, you give your seat up to those who might need it more. So, at this point in time, given the capacity constraints, I’d like to urge if you’re younger with two doses please consider holding on booking and instead helping your older friends and family access a booster appointment as soon as possible,” he said.
The province expanded booster eligibility on Monday to Ontarians 18 years and older who got their second dose at least three months ago.
The expansion was part of the province’s plan to combat the contagious Omicron variant that currently accounts for over 91 per cent of all coronavirus cases in the province.
A week earlier, booster shots were expanded to residents over 50 and select immunocompromised individuals, providing little time for these groups to book an appointment before eligibility expanded to 18-plus.
People in the Greater Toronto Area have been waiting up at pop-up clinics to get booster shots sooner, similar to what happened when the first doses were distributed.
To meet the strong demand, Loh said Peel officials are considering adding more pop-up clinics throughout the holiday season.
“We’re looking at pop-up clinics for 50 spaces, and we’re looking at more capacity,” he said. “All of this will be brought online during the holiday season and into early January as we strive to move ahead of Omicron.”
To avoid virus spread throughout the holiday season, Loh says it’s critical for people to limit their connections.
Source_ The Canadian Press