A public health nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine. (File photo supplied by Southwestern Public Health)A public health nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine. (File photo supplied by Southwestern Public Health)

People 65-plus in London region now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

It's time for seniors aged 65 to 69 in the London region to roll up their sleeve.

The Middlesex London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health announced on Tuesday vaccine eligibility has been expanded to include anyone born in 1956 or earlier. People in that age group can immediately begin booking appointments to get their first dose of the vaccine.

"We are happy to be able to open to this new group and will open to additional groups as soon as we have capacity to do so,” Middlesex-London Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie said in a statement. “Our goal remains to get the vaccine into the arms of those who want it as quickly as we can.”

Mackie anticipates the 60-plus crowd will get their chance to book appointments for the shot within a week.

Vaccine eligibility was opened up to include seniors 65 and older just one week after it was made available to those 70 and up.

The health units credit an increase in the vaccine supply and the rollout to pharmacies for being able to move to the next age group so quickly. Eight London-area pharmacies have been authorized to offer the Astra-Zeneca shot to residents 55 and older.

Appointments to get the vaccine at one of the region's mass vaccination clinics can be made by those 65 or older by going online at www.covidvaccinelm.ca. They can also be made by calling 226-289-3560. However, booking by phone is discouraged as high call volumes can and have in the past temporarily crashed the system.

Southwestern Public Health launched a vaccine 'help list' last week to assist those 80-plus in booking.

"Please be assured that no one will be left behind as we move down the age-related criteria,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, Elgin and Oxford's medical officer of health.

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