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York Region expands COVID-19 vaccines to 'high priority' health-care workers

Chiropractors, registered massage therapists, opticians and school nurses are among the group that can now book appointments at three public health clinics

York Region is expanding its phase one rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to include "high priority" community care and rehabilitation health-care workers such as chiropractors, registered massage therapists, opticians and school nurses.

Until now, the region's public health unit has restricted vaccine access to highest and very high frontline health-care workers who live or work in York Region, and as of March 1, residents aged 80 years of age and older.

According to a York Region news release, the high priority group includes frontline health-care workers who interact with patients or clients in the following settings and sectors:
  • Community care with lower risk of exposure and serving special populations, including developmental services, mental health and addictions services
  • Community care with lower risk of exposure and serving general population, including campus health, community diagnostic imaging, daycare/school nursing, dietary/nutrition, independent health facilities (e.g. opticians/optometry, podiatry, audiology, medical and surgical specialities),naturopathy/holistic care, social work, sexual health clinics
  • Non-acute rehabilitation and therapy, including chiropractic, chronic pain clinics, kinesiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, registered massage therapy/acupuncture, other therapy
  • All public health

These priority groups are identified in phase one of the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

Eligible residents can book appointments on at any of the three clinics operated by York Region Public Health at Georgina Ice Palace, Richmond Green Sports Centre in Richmond Hill, and Maple Community Centre in Vaughan.

Each eligible individual is asked to book his or her own appointment online; telephone support is available and is listed under the applicable clinic.

As vaccine supply increases, residents in the eligible phase one priority groups are encouraged to check back often for appointments that may become available, according to regional spokesperson Patrick Casey. 

"To ensure all appointments are available to those who are eligible, we encourage residents to book only one appointment per person and cancel any appointments they do not intend to use," Casey said.

Walk-in appointments are not available – you will be turned away, he added.