Corp Comm Connects

Younger age groups in York Region 'hot spots' now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines

First bookings, for those 45 to 59 in Markham and Vaughan, to begin Apr. 7 for Apr. 8 appointments
April 7, 2021
Kim Zarzour

York Region residents aged 45 to 59 living in four areas in Vaughan and one in Markham can now book COVID-19 vaccines.

At the same time, the Ontario government says residents in hot spots - including eight more postal codes across southern York Region - who are aged 50 and older can book their vaccines in coming weeks.

It’s part of the provincial government identification of priority groups in Phase 2 focusing on communities in geographical locations with high historic and ongoing rates of transmission, hospitalization and death.

Ontario's Phase 2 vaccine distribution plan focuses on reaching residents in communities where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods. The province says over 20 per cent of community-based deaths in Ontario have occurred in just 10 per cent of areas referred to as hot spots.

The first expidited rollout begins with those aged 45 to 59 (born 1962 to 1976) living in postal codes L4L, L6A, L4K, L4J and L3S.

Booking is open Apr. 7 at 8:30 a.m. with approximately 8,000 appointments to be scheduled for Apr. 8 to Apr. 12.

Visit and select either Aaniin Community Centre in Markham or Maple Community Centre in Vaughan.

"These five initial communities are identified in alignment with provincial guidance and by using York Region data to consider factors such as prevalence of variant cases, COVID-19 incidence rates, hospitalizations, deaths and an internal equity framework based on the Ontario Marginalization Index," said York Region spokesperson Patrick Casey in an email.

Additional appointments will also be opening at clinics across York Region on Apr. 7 for all other eligible priority groups including residents age 65+, health care workers, indigenous adults, faith leaders and adult recipients of chronic home care.

At a media briefing Apr. 6, the Ontario government said the province is supporting regions to vaccinate individuals aged 50 and over by postal code in 13 public health units in Ontario, including some in York Region as well as Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Simcoe-Muskoka, Southwestern, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Windsor-Essex.

These hot spots will receive additional doses (up to 920,000), to be distributed based on public health units' local knowlege and expertise as well as provincial data from the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, according to an announcement released Tuesday.

"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," the media statement said.

A total of 13 York Region postal codes, including the five initial areas listed above, have been identified as hot spots eligible for expedited vaccine rollouts for those aged 50 and older.

These locations are primarily in southern York Region. In addition to the postal codes mentioned above, they include neighbourhoods in Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Oak Ridges, Concord, Woodbridge and Kleinberg in the following postal codes: L0J, L4B, L4E L4H, L3T, L6B, L6C and L6E.

Details have not yet been released on how people living in these areas can book their shots.

According to a York Region Public Health spokesperson, "further vaccine eligibility will be introduced for additional high priority areas within York Region as vaccine supply and capacity permits, balanced within the ongoing vaccination of existing and new eligible priority groups."