Windsor-Essex included in Phase Two of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout as 'hot spot' community

COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ont., on Sunday, March 14, 2021. (Melanie Borrelli / CTV Windsor)

The Ontario government is moving into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a focus on reaching individuals in "hot spot" communities, including some areas in Windsor-Essex.

The areas are listed by postal code where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods.

Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones gave details of the rollout on Tuesday.

The province says it is supporting regions to vaccinate individuals aged 50 and over by postal code in these COVID-19 hot spot zones.

This phase will also prioritize individuals with the highest-risk health conditions in April 2021.

"As soon as vaccines arrive our focus is turning to the communities hit hardest by COVID-19 and those with the highest-risk health conditions,” said Ford. “With the extraordinary work of Team Ontario we aim to deliver over 9 million vaccinations across Ontario by the end of June."

Eligible Windsor-Essex residents can book vaccinations through the online booking portal or by calling 226-773-2200.

Phase Two is focused on age and at-risk populations to prevent further death, hospitalization and transmission.

To support this, Ontario is increasing vaccine allocations to COVID-19 "hot spot" communities across 13 public health units, including Windsor-Essex, targeting historic and ongoing areas with high rates of death, hospitalization and transmission.

Delivering vaccines to people who live in these areas is critical to reducing the impact of COVID-19 as quickly as possible, and the Ministry of Health is working with public health units to ensure timely access to vaccines among the identified communities through all available vaccine delivery channels, including pharmacies, mass vaccination clinics, and mobile teams.

Starting as early as April 6, 2021, individuals with the following highest-risk health conditions will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Ontario:

  • Organ transplant recipients;
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients;
  • People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis);
  • Haematological malignancy diagnosed less than one year ago;
  • Sickle cell disease;
  • Kidney disease; and
  • Essential caregivers for individuals in the groups listed above.

Patients with the specific health conditions listed above, as well as their essential caregiver will be identified for vaccination due to an increased risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, regardless of age.

The province is expecting to reach the majority of this group through hospital clinics by the end of April 2021.

Patients in the highest-risk clinical groups will be contacted by their health care providers to set up an appointment for a vaccination.

The Ministry of Health is working with Ontario Health, as well as networks like the Ontario Renal Network and other clinical organizations and vaccination partners, to identify and vaccinate these patients and their caregivers as soon as possible.

"As we continue our fight against COVID-19, it is critical that we continue to ramp up capacity to protect our vulnerable populations and those with the highest-risk health conditions," said Elliott.