WINDSOR, ONT. -- The COVID-19 vaccine eligibility is expanding again in Windsor-Essex.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the following groups are now eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine at any targeted vaccination clinic:

  • Adults 30 years and older, born in 1991 or earlier, in non-hot spot postal codes and
  • The second group of essential workers who cannot work from home. The full list of essential workers can be found on page 21 of the Ministry of Health guidance document and are listed below.

Individuals can book online or call the booking hotline at 226-773-2200.

Medical officer of heath Dr. Wajid Ahmed says several factors have led to the increased eligibility.

“We look at our coverage rates in each of these age groups and we’re also looking at how much vaccine that are coming to our region and what are the available delivery mechanism that we have in our region to distribute these vaccines,” says Ahmed.

“When we hear about a steady supply of vaccine coming into our region we feel much more comfortable to open up more age categories.”

The Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are being administered at the targeted vaccination clinics and appointments are required with no walk-ins permitted.

All appointments at targeted COVID-19 vaccination clinics are currently for first doses only and must be scheduled through the online booking system or by calling the vaccination booking call centre at 226-773-2200.

Everyone that schedules an appointment will be asked to attest that they meet the current eligibility criteria to book an appointment. They will also be asked to bring a health card or a government-issued photo ID (if they do not have a health card) to confirm their appointment. Examples of acceptable government-issued photo ID include a driver's license, a passport, a Status Card, or other provincial health card.

“Nineteen-year-old supermarket employee Zein Bitar says it feels really good to know he can make an appointment.

“At least it puts me in a better environment. It makes me more safe so, you know, having COVID? It’s going to be the least of my worries now,” he says. “We’re the ones that are being put at risk the most, so it feels really good.”

“I’m tired of lockdowns and I want to visit family and I want to get back to life,” Brenda Mahoney says.

Individuals currently 18 years of age and older and living in Windsor-Essex County can also now sign up to be on the COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist through the online booking system.

The waitlist is used across all targeted vaccination clinics and you will only be contacted if a time slot becomes available the day that you select. Selecting a time slot does not mean that you have an appointment. Waitlist registrations are for first doses only.

While eligibility has expanded, some who are now able to receive the vaccine plan to wait a bit longer before booking an appointment.

“Honestly, I’m going to pass on the vaccine for now,” carpenter Jordan Blonde tells CTV News. “It’s still very spotty for me when it comes to the trail phase and in comparison to prior vaccines, I don’t think it’s a comparison but respect to whatever you want to do with your own body.”

HVAC worker Chris Mitchell shares Blonde’s sentiment.

“I don’t really want to be a tester. So I’m kind of waiting for the real good one to come out, the real testing to finalize and get through. The Pfizer is looking better than all the other ones so I’m waiting for that one,” Mitchell adds.

Despite the vaccine rollout, WECHU says everyone must continue to practice public health measures to help prevent further spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Second Group of Essential Workers Who Cannot Work from Home:

  • Essential and critical retail workers (including grocery, foodbank and non-clinical pharmacy workers, ServiceOntario workers, ServiceCanada and Passport Canada workers, wholesalers and general goods, restaurant workers, LCBO)
  • Workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting the COVID19 response, construction including infrastructure, and other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and spread.
  • Social workers and other social services staff providing in-person client services (including youth justice workers, OW and ODSP case workers)
  • Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole workers)
  • Transportation, warehousing and distribution workers (including public transit workers, taxi drivers, truck drivers supporting essential services, marine and rail cargo and maintenance, highway maintenance)
  • Electricity (including workers employed in system operations, generation, transmission, distribution and storage).
  • Communications infrastructure workers (including cellular, satellite, landline, internet, public safety radio)
  • Water and wastewater management workers
  • Financial services workers (bank branch staff)
  • Veterinarians and veterinary teams
  • Waste management workers
  • Oil and petroleum workers (including those working in petroleum refineries; those involved in the storage, transmission and distribution of crude oil and petroleum products and those needed for the retail sale of fuel).
  • Natural gas and propane gas workers (including those working in the compression, storage, transmission and distribution of natural gas and propane)
  • Mine workers (including those needed to ensure the continued operation of active mines)
  • Uranium processing workers (those working in the refining and conversion of uranium, and fabrication of fuel for nuclear power plants).

With files from CTV Windsor's Chris Campbell