WINDSOR, ONT. -- The COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan is well underway in Windsor-Essex. CTVNewsWindsor.ca has everything you need to know about receiving the vaccines in the region, according to information from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and the Ontario government.

WHO CAN GET VACCINATED RIGHT NOW?

Windsor-Essex is in Phase 1 of Ontario’s three-phase COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan. The process started in the region on Dec. 14, 2020, with the first Pfizer shot being administered on Dec. 22. Priority health care workers, long-term care home and retirement residents and staff were the first eligible residents to get the vaccine.

WECHU says other key populations will receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the first phase of distribution at different time intervals, based on risk level and vaccine availability.

Adults 60 years of age and older are also are being vaccinated in Phase 1. The clinic at the WFCU Centre started vaccinating seniors over 80 on Monday, March 1 and have expanded that to include those 60 and older, born in 1961, on Friday, April 2.

An online booking system is available for eligible Windsor-Essex seniors. For those unable to access the online system, help is available by contacting the WECHU’s hotline at 226-773-2200.

As of March 12, many Windsor-Essex pharmacies started administering the AstraZeneca vaccine as part of a pilot project to vaccinate residents aged 60-64. On March 23, eligibility expanded to include adults older than 64 and on Thursday, April 1, to those 55 and older.

Those interested in booking an appointment at any of the 57 Windsor and Essex County pharmacies as part of the provincial pilot program can contact a participating pharmacy directly.

These are the pharmacies taking part in the program.

As the province moves into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, it is focusing on individuals in “hot spot” communities, including some areas in Windsor-Essex.

The province said on Tuesday, April 6 it would be supporting regions to vaccinate residents 50-plus by postal code in the hot spot zones.

WHO IS NEXT IN LINE?

Also included in Phase 1 are adults in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations where infection can have disproportionate consequences, including those living in remote or isolated areas and adult recipients of chronic home health care.

PHASE 2: Mass deliveries of vaccines - Timeline: Expected to begin April 2021.

As the stock of vaccines increase, the populations to be vaccinated under Phase 2 of distribution in Ontario include the following groups:

  • All health care workers,
  • Continuation of long-term care homes and retirement homes,
  • Additional home care patients with chronic conditions, and
  • Additional First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit adults.

In addition, the following groups will be prioritized:

  • People who live and work in high-risk congregate settings (for example, shelters, community living),
  • Frontline essential workers, including first responders, teachers and other education staff, high-risk and critical retail workers and the food processing industry,
  • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, and
  • Other populations and communities facing barriers related to the determinants of health across Ontario who are at greater COVID-19 risk.

HOW WILL I FIND OUT WHEN I CAN RECEIVE THE VACCINE?

There is no waitlist for the COVID-19 vaccine. Please note that the provincial government’s phased vaccine distribution plan sets the order of distribution for local public health units to follow. The groups selected for vaccination in each phase are based on an ethical framework, established by the Government of Ontario.

To stay up to date with vaccine availability and when you may be able to receive the vaccine, continue to visit wechu.org regularly, sign up for WECHU email alerts, and watch the regular YouTube updates.

WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

Specific sectors identified within the plan will be notified directly by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit or another agency or organization when they are eligible to receive the vaccine. WECHU officials say they are is committed to timely communication on vaccine availability and will communicate broadly when there are opportunities to register for the vaccine.

The online booking system is available for eligible Windsor-Essex seniors 75-plus. For those unable to access the online system, help is available by contacting the WECHU’s hotline at 226-773-2200.

Residents over 60 who are interested in booking an appointment at any of the 57 Windsor and Essex County pharmacies as part of the provincial pilot program can contact a participating pharmacy directly.

Ontario’s online portal where people from the general population can book their COVID-19 vaccine appointment launched on March 15.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE REGISTERING?

Find out which group you qualify for by visiting the WECHU website. Information is also available on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the rollout plan.

WHO HAS ALREADY RECEIVED THE VACCINE?

Priority health care workers and residents of long-term care and retirement homes. Residents in all 44 of the region's homes have had first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine. A home is considered done when all eligible residents have received the shot. The health unit is now circling back to vaccinate residents who have not received it yet due to illness or other factors.

Older adults are also being vaccinated, based on age.

WHERE ARE THE VACCINES BEING DISTRIBUTED?

The Pfizer vaccine is being distributed at the Sportsplex at St. Clair College. The Moderna vaccine was distributed at local LTC and retirement homes. WECHU has plans to open other sites when more supply is available.

AstraZeneca is being administered at participating pharmacies.