THUNDER BAY – The provincial government will open COVID-19 vaccine appointments to those aged 12 and over on Sunday. The move is being made ahead of schedule in response to requests from local health units, the government said.
The provincial booking system will open to those aged 12 to 17 on Sunday at 8 a.m., the government announced in a release issued Friday evening.
In a statement issued Friday, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit said there remained more than 1,000 open spots at its vaccine clinics over the next three weeks, and encouraged residents to book through the provincial system.
Information about vaccination clinics offered by family health teams in district communities is available at the health unit's website.
Unlike rollouts to previous ages, individuals must have already turned 12 by the date of their booking, not just within the same year.
Those turning 12 later this year can book an appointment for a later date through the call centre, the province said.
For now, the Pfizer vaccine remains the only vaccine authorized for use in those under the age of 18 by Health Canada.
The province had projected earlier this week that bookings for those 12 to 17 would not begin until the week of May 31.
“The changes are at the request of some public health units to remove barriers for families requesting vaccines,” the government said. “Public health units may have different vaccine administration rates based on local context, and the province and public health units will continue to make appointments available as vaccine supply is confirmed.”
The province had already opened vaccinations to those 12 and over in select public health units on May 18 via mobile and walk-in clinics.
The province expects to reach all youth aged 12 and over with a first dose before the end of June, and with a second dose by the end of August, it said.