WECHU Vaccine Eligibility Slightly Behind Provincial Expansion  

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If the provincial government says you're eligible for a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but the Windsor Essex County Health Unit says you're not, there's no need to worry.

As of right now, Ontarians 70 and older, and anyone who got their first Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on or before April 18, can now book their second shot through the province's system. However, Windsor-Essex is still working on those who received a first dose between March 8 and March 31.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, says the situation is different for each public health unit and in the case of Windsor-Essex, they aren't currently able to accommodate what the province has outlined.

"Obviously we want to stay on top of everything and we want to do what works for our community, what is more important for our community and what the logistics and supports and resources we have in our community to do that," he says.

According to Dr. Ahmed, another reason the reason local guidelines may not may align with the province is because they want to make sure everybody who still needs a first dose is able to get it.

"People who do not have access to a computer, people who do not know how to use the computer, will not have an opportunity to access it [vaccination booking website], same idea for the call centre, same idea with the elderly to get in the queue and get in the line to book a vaccine," he says. "So there are a number of logistics that goes into our planning piece."

Dr. Ahmed says the local health unit is still trying to get second doses to those who received their first dose earlier on.

"If you open it up for all of them, it can create barriers and challenges for people to book their vaccine in a timely manor," he says. "So some time in the middle of this week or end of this week, we are planning to match it with what the provincial opening is which will take them all the way to April 18, we haven't forgotten them."

Ontario's eligibility expansion comes as Ontario nears a vaccination milestone of 10 million doses administered.

In Windsor-Essex, a total of 291,963 does of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.