COVID-19 shots available to Simcoe Muskoka students 12+ ahead of schedule

Simcoe Muskoka children 12 to 17 can get their second COVID-19 vaccine shot earlier than scheduled as the province announced accelerated eligibility for this age group.

The government said students should be fully vaccinated to help prevent COVID-19, including the Delta variant, for a safe return to school in September.

According to the Simcoe Muskoka health unit, 55 per cent of children 12 to 17 have had their first dose. The region's associate medical officer of health said this age group is lagging behind booking vaccination appointments.

"I urge all individuals 12 years of age and older to get their full two-dose series of COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as they are able," Dr. Colin Lee said Wednesday.

The health unit said youths who don't have an Ontario health card could book an appointment for the shot over the phone rather than online.

Complete information on how to book a COVID-19 vaccine in Simcoe Muskoka is available here.

Children 17 and younger must have a parent or guardian attend their appointment.

All doses are the Pfizer vaccine, which is currently the only shot approved for children under 18.  

HUNTSVILLE WALK-IN VACCINES AVAILABLE TODAY FOR ADULTS 18+

Meanwhile, the health unit is welcoming walk-ins Friday between noon and 4 p.m. at the Huntsville Summit Centre on Park Drive in Huntsville.

Simcoe Muskoka adults 18 and older can show up for their first or second dose of the vaccine while supplies last.

Priority will be given to first doses and second doses for those immunized on or before May 1.

In a release Friday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said everyone would have the opportunity to get both doses this summer. "Vaccines are the best defence against COVID-19 and variants, and I encourage everyone to get their first and second shots as soon as possible."