43,000 Ottawa residents aged 60 and over booked a COVID-19 vaccine appointment on Wednesday

As the traffic continues to flow into Ottawa’s vaccination sites, so do the bookings with vaccinations now open to another age bracket in the capital.

"It was exciting actually because I've been waiting for this,” said Marc Pichard, who qualified as of Wednesday. "I was wondering when it would come."

Pichard, 68, stayed up past midnight but wasn’t able to land an appointment right away. With help from his daughter, they found the problem. 

"She said, 'Dad, you have the wrong health card number,'" he said.

Within half an hour, his daughter managed to book an appointment. Pichard is scheduled for his first shot next week.

Starting Wednesday, residents of Ottawa born in or before 1961 can schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine through Ontario’s online booking system.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the city said 43,000 Ottawa residents over the age of 60 had booked an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes as Ontario gets ready for stricter health measures and the province aims to expand vaccine delivery to adults 50 and older in select hot spot neighbourhoods.

Here in Ottawa, three postal codes have been identified as hot spots. But the city says Ottawa Public Health will focus on 21 specific high-risk low-income neighbourhoods within those areas. Those who qualify will need to book an appointment directly with Ottawa Public Health.

It’s another wrinkle as people struggle to stay up to speed on who's eligible, like Tracey Eisenberg who was born in September 1961.

“What I'm worried about, as it was for me, a lot of people who can register may not register," she said.

Eisenberg was hesitant to book at first because she’s not yet 60. But because she was born in 1961, she was able to book her vaccine for Tuesday. 

That brings a sense of relief, a feeling echoed by Pichard, a grandfather of three.

“I want to be able to be around them, be a good grandpa and be in good health," said Pichard. “If the vaccine can offer protection then I’m all for it.”