LaSalle Teen Denied Vaccine Despite Being in Group 2

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A LaSalle teen is old enough to work on the front lines, but not old enough to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Theresa Dipasquale says her 16-year-old son works at a grocery store, which is part of Group 2 of the province's vaccine roll-out launched on May 10.

AM800 News confirmed the province does not specify a minimum age for Group 2 on its website, but the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit told Dipasquale they've set the age at 18 and up.

"I've contacted other regions, Chatham, Ont., Sarnia, Ont., London, Ont., and they're all doing 16-plus for the Group 2 level," she says. "It's a little frustrating when you have a 16 year old who's already worked an eight hour shift next to someone who had COVID-19."

She says many teenagers under 18 years old work in grocery stores, at drive-thru and pick-up windows and deliver essential items.

"You want to make sure your kids are taken care of and I'm just not sure why other groups who may be working from home are expedited," she added. "Even myself, I'm in the 40 plus group. I'm working from home and I can get vaccinated but he's limited and he's going out to work four days a week."

Dipasquale has been in contact with Essex MPP Taras Natayshak's office to see what can be done.

Officials with the health unit confirmed the age to vaccinate Group 2 residents is set at 18 years old and up, but declined to comment further.

The statement goes on to says the health unit will address the issue at its daily briefing Monday at 9:30 a.m.

According to the province's website, the following people qualify for a COVID-19 vaccines in Group 2:

  • Essential and critical retail workers (including grocery, foodbank, pharmacy, ServiceOntario, postal service, ServiceCanada, Passport Canada, wholesalers and general goods, restaurant, LCBO workers)
  • Workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting COVID-19 response, construction (including infrastructure) and other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and spread
  • Independent childcare providers who directly provide care to children who are not related
  • Social workers and social services staff who provide in-person client services (including youth justice workers, Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program case workers)
  • Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole workers)
  • Transportation, warehousing and distribution workers (including public transit workers, airport workers, truck drivers supporting essential services, marine and rail cargo and maintenance, highway maintenance)
  • Electricity (including system operations, generation, transmission, distribution and storage workers)
  • 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 petroleum refineries, crude oil and petroleum storage, transmission and distribution, retail sale of fuel)
  • Natural gas and propane gas workers (including 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)