Following the province’s announcement that on Monday, adults across Ontario would become eligible for booster vaccines against COVID-19, demand for appointments has been overwhelming everywhere. Every appointment Peel Public Health (PPH) has added to the system has been snapped up almost immediately. And while they were able to increase capacity almost 65% last week and continue to add spots daily, they still cannot meet demand. PPH is booked until February in most locations across Peel.
To address this, PPH is working with partners to add more clinic locations and hours of operation across the system. System capacity will increase significantly in January. But that will leave many residents anxious and unsatisfied.
Through the holidays, vaccinations will be available every day in Peel. Pharmacies will be offering vaccinations on days when other clinics are not. Unfortunately, appointments through this period are full and walk-ins may be restricted, even at pharmacies.
PPH is actively looking at ways to increase appointments in its clinics through the holiday period. These appointments, when available, will be added to the system. We expect them to be snapped up quickly. Residents can check the Provincial booking site frequently to see if appointments have been opened.
Thank you for your understanding throughout this challenging time. The Provincial decision to rapidly expand eligibility to 18+ is understandable because of Omicron, but the impact in Peel is acute because so many in our population received dose two as part of the hot spot prioritization. We now have almost 900,000 residents suddenly eligible. It took us five months to vaccinate our first 600,000 people.
Please know that we are taking every possible step to meet this challenge during this time of year in ensuring safety for our staff and residents while continuing to respond to evolving community needs and changing provincial direction.