WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced Tuesday, individuals 12 years of age to 17 years of age will be able to book an appointment to receive their first dose of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine.

Anyone 12 years and older with specified health conditions like immune difficincies, diabetes, cancer and others are now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

“We’re very happy to hear that because it was hard to turn people away who called,” said registered nurse Carol Diemer. “It’s really refreshing as a health care professional to just say, come on in.”

To ensure you are eligible, review page 18 of the Ministry of Health guidance document.

A reminder, the Moderna vaccine has not been approved to be administered to individuals younger than 18 years of age.

"Almost all of the age bands are open now for the vaccine so we want everyone to take that opportunity to get the vaccine as quickly as possible," said medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed.

Dr. Ahmed said the zero to 29 age group accounts for nearly half the daily cases in Windsor-Essex so expanding access to this demographic will help further protect the community, with an end in sight.

“By June, that’s our goal, we should be able to be in a position with minimum to no cases in our community,” he said.

Appointments are required at all at the targeted vaccination clinics with no walk-ins permitted. Those under 16 years of age must be accompanied by their custodial parent and/or guardian at the vaccination clinic.

Nineteen-year-old Aiden Walsh received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine Tuesday at a pop-up clinic at the Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre.

“We’re one step closer,” he said “We’re one step closer to beating the virus. I take comfort in that. I take pride in that.”

Also beginning Tuesday, adults 18 years and older, born in 2003 or earlier and essential workers who cannot work from home that are 16 years and older, born in 2005 or earlier are also eligible to book their first dose.

Alex DiLuca, 20, said the wait was a bit longer when booking online — but he hardly waited five minutes at the Sandwich pop-up.

“So when you have walk-in clinics, it just feels really good. It feels good,” he said. “I feel maybe a bit more free.”

The full list of essential workers can be found on page 21 of the Ministry of Health guidance document.

Appointments for the above groups at the targeted COVID-19 vaccination clinics are 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.