As the province kicks up its COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health unit is expanding access to the shot. 

In her weekly update, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Natalie Bocking said there are currently six mass immunization sites running districtwide. 

She said the increased supply should be enough to avoid the scarcity of appointments the district saw the last week or so.

Bocking said the health unit will either be expanding the number of days doses are available or the number of appointments available at that clinic at one point in time. 

“There are 22 pharmacies the last time that I was notified that have been approved to offer the COVID-19 vaccine; it has been AstraZeneca that’s been supplied through pharmacies’ she said. 

As for vaccines through primary care, Bocking said there are seven Primary Care teams, family health or community health centres, that so far have been offering the AstraZeneca shot, with plans to have the Moderna vaccine go through some of those primary care clinics in the works.

As of 8 a.m. today(Thursday), Ontario’s age eligibility to get a vaccine will decrease to 50 and over along with individuals with high-risk medical conditions outlined by the province and other essential workers who cannot work from home who were in the group one category that the province has delineated to be able to access vaccine starting today. 

Some of the key Individuals in that group Bocking said, include Elementary and secondary school teachers.

She also reminded everyone that when the province makes age eligibility changes, it means you’re able to call and book an appointment it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to get an appointment right away. 

Bocking said HKPR clinics are posted up until the end of May now or and if not, will be doing so very shortly now that there is more confidence in vaccine supply. 

“We (the health unit) will be looking at adding clinics in June at an earlier date so it’s less last-minute for folks to try and book their appointment,” she added, “so people, once they’re eligible, should be able to find appointments; and if you’re not seeing any it’s because they’re booked but we will be adding more into the system”

As of Tuesday, 6,000 appointments were still available across all of the clinics in HKPR jurisdiction among appointments or clinics running up until May 19th, Bocking said. 

And on reports of the A.J. LaRue Community Centre’s Mass Immunization clinic possibly changing locations, she didn’t have any specific details but said a couple of different locations did have to relocate mainly related to whether or not the venue that was chosen needs it back for other things, and if the venue isn’t meeting all of the needs the health unit has.