Only 5% of Niagara received COVID vaccine, but region ready for large-scale vaccinations this month

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Niagara is out with some more details on when and who will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Niagara Region Public Health says it is preparing for the rollout of large-scale vaccinations later this month.

Officials say they have not started giving the general public of 80 yrs and over the vaccine in Niagara yet, as it finishes vaccination of the 'highest risk populations.' 

Right now Niagara continues to vaccinate seniors in retirement homes and some congregate living settings, and front-line health care workers. First and second doses of the vaccine have been completed in long-term care homes.

They will begin vaccinating the Indigenous community this month before opening vaccinations to the 80 year of age and older demographic later in March.

A centralized vaccination registration portal will launch on March 15th. 

The portal will be used by local public health agencies across the province and mass vaccination clinics will begin soon after this portal is launched, including in Niagara. 

The general public cannot register for a vaccine appointment yet. Those currently eligible for the vaccine are being contacted directly by either Niagara Region Public Health or Niagara Health.

Once vaccines are more widely available Niagara will have vaccination clinics in all parts of the region to ensure no one in any of the 12 municipalities needs to travel far to get vaccinated. 

Coordination with the local municipalities is well underway and further details will be shared soon. 

After vaccinating those 80 years of age and older, Niagara Region Public Health will follow the provincial prioritization criteria to move through progressively younger age brackets until all persons 60 years of age or older have had the opportunity to get vaccinated. 

At that point, essential workers throughout the region as well as other high-risk residents (e.g. those with chronic medical conditions) will be able to get vaccinated. 

The Ontario government hopes to open vaccination up to all Ontario residents by the start of fall, and Niagara intends to be in lockstep with that timeline. 

So far 24,268 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Niagara, that's just over 5% of Niagara’s population.