Five Haliburton County partners are working with the local health unit to finalize plans for community vaccination against COVID-19.

The Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team, Haliburton Family Medical Centre, Haliburton County Paramedic Service, the County of Haliburton, and Haliburton Highlands Health Services say that while no firm timeline or clinic information is available yet, they recognize residents want local details about what they can expect in terms of immunization plans and locations.

The supply of vaccines into Haliburton County is guided by the availability and determination of priority groups by the province. The local partners say they are working diligently with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) to plan for the arrival of vaccines for the community.

“We know that many of our residents are anxiously awaiting details on the availability of the vaccine locally, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we wait for the vaccine supply to arrive,” said HKPRDHU acting medical officer of health, Dr. Ian Gemmill.

During his weekly media briefing March 3, Gemmill said the Feb. 26 approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine is another game changer in a playing field that is altering all of the time.

Details to be announced soon

He added, “working on very concrete plans about when and where we’ll have clinics and so on. Not quite finished that yet, but … it’s coming soon. Just be patient. Like everybody, we all have to be patient. We all want to get this vaccine as quickly as possible.”

It is known that after local healthcare workers are immunized, the next priority group will be residents over the age of 80.

According to the Ontario College of Family Physicians, it’s expected that age group will be able to book appointments for a vaccine starting March 15. People 75 and older are looking at April 15, those 70 and up May 1, and 65 and older June 1. The college said that is subject to availability and could change. They added there will likely be mass vaccination sites, mobile sites, and likely pharmacies doing injections.

The Haliburton partners and Gemmill said information regarding when, where, and how to book appointments for vaccinations will follow in the coming weeks and will be shared with residents through newspapers, local radio stations, social media, and health care partner websites.

“At the moment, there is no wait list process to receive the vaccine and partners are grateful for the patience of community members who are anxious to receive immunization,” the partners said.

They added that until vaccines are more widely available, the community should continue to follow all public health measures to help stop the spread, including staying home as much as possible, practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask or face covering in public spaces, and getting tested for COVID-19 if they are experiencing any of the symptoms.

More information about prioritization across Ontario is available at Ontario.ca/CovidVaccine.

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