COVID-19: Adults 50+ in South Simcoe 'hot spot' included in Phase 2 of Ontario vaccine plan

WATCH: As province-wide restrictions have once again been imposed, the number of municipal leaders and doctors calling for a change to the immunization strategy is growing. Many argue essential workers should be vaccinated soon to prevent further outbreaks both in the workplace and in the community. Matthew Bingley reports.

Adults who are age 50 and above in a South Simcoe COVID-19 “hot spot” zone will soon be able to get vaccinated as part of the second phase of Ontario’s coronavirus immunization plan.

On Tuesday, the Ontario government said people who are age 50-plus and living under the postal code L3Z will be able to get inoculated, along with individuals in other “hot spot” communities in 12 other public health unit regions, including York Region, Toronto and Peel.

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“We are getting needles in arms as quickly as possible and have now administered over 2.6 million vaccines,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement Tuesday.

“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.”

Ford said the province’s goal is to deliver more than nine million vaccines by the end of June.

Groups who are considered primary priority under the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s second phase of its vaccination plan include adults age 60 to 79, people with health conditions, residents, essential caregivers and staff of high-risk congregate settings, and adults age 50-plus in COVID-19 hot spot zones.

Those who are considered secondary priority under the local immunization plan include people who are remaining with at-risk health conditions and essential workers who can’t work from home.

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The second phase of the regional vaccine rollout is scheduled to take place between April and July.

Currently, Simcoe Muskoka public health is wrapping up the first phase of its vaccine plan and beginning the second phase.

Those who are currently eligible to pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine in the region include transplant recipients and some cancer patients who have received their first dose, Indigenous adults and their household members, adult recipients of chronic home care, health care workers, essential caregivers of long-term care and retirement home residents, and faith leaders.

Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health, is expected to provide an update on the second phase of the vaccine rollout on Wednesday.

So far, there’s been more than 109,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the region, including more than 18,000 people who have gotten both necessary doses.

The majority of doses administered in Simcoe Muskoka have been of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but more than 4,500 AztraZeneca doses have also been given by primary care teams. More than 2,000 Moderna vaccine doses have also been administered.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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