Students 12 to 17 in Simcoe Muskoka can now book second doses

Students 12 to 17 years of age are now eligible to book a second COVID-19 vaccination.

The province accelerated the vaccination program for this age group to ensure students head back to school in September fully vaccinated.

Appointment bookings opened at 8 a.m. on Monday on the provincial online system.

Alternatively, appointments can be booked through the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's website at one of the many clinics or participating pharmacies.

Initially, the province had said students would become eligible for second doses no earlier than Aug. 9.

Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care pediatrician Dr. Rob Meeder said second doses are critical for children because they can still be carriers of COVID-19, even though youths are less likely to get very sick from the virus.

Meeder said students need to return to school for their mental health.

Health experts say children could experience side effects like adults from the second dose, including headache, muscle pain, nausea, and tiredness.

As of Friday, the Simcoe Muskoka health unit reported 55 per cent of students had received their first shot.

Complete information about how to book an appointment and where to find local immunization clinics is available here.

Pop-up clinics are open in Bradford for residents 12 and older who live, work or go to school in the area.

The Bob Fallis Arena has clinics available on July 8, 11 and 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Appointments can be booked online.