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Can’t get a second vaccination appointment in Peel Region? Keep on trying says Loh
June 17, 2021
Sabrina Gamrot

When the provincial booking system opened appointments for second doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, June 14 to those who were first vaccinated before May 8, appointments in Peel seemed to be few and far between.

Within just hours of the opening of the system, the Region of Peel tweeted that all of its clinics were “fully booked” and added it was working with the province to add more dates.

After waiting hours for an opportunity to book for Peel residents, there seemed to be only two options: travel to another jurisdiction or wait for more appointments.

Some residents shared their experiences on Twitter, showing the only available appointments to them were kilometres away from Peel -- including spots in Tottenham, Simcoe and Bradford, among others.

At the June 16 COVID-19 presser for the city of Brampton, the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, asked residents to keep on trying to get appointments.

“I know that with the opening of expanded eligibility on Monday, some people may have tried earlier this week to get an appointment without success. Demand for the second dose is high and for that, I thank all of our residents,” he said.

He recommends trying the provincial booking system again -- as the region has “been rebuilding capacity” that was reduced at the end of the May hot spot strategy.

“Our capacity is dynamic and growing with appointments being released throughout the week,” he said.

When asked if he recommended residents travel outside of Peel Region to get their second dose, Loh said that if it is a viable option, he would encourage it.

“The province’s booking system allows you to book into any jurisdiction so certainly if that becomes an option for someone, and they have the means and the wherewithal to do so, then I would encourage everyone to avail themselves to a second dose where they can.”

However, the province’s booking system seems to be a double-edged sword, as Loh explained that roughly 34 per cent of Peel Region appointments have been booked by non-Peel residents.

“To be clear, that provincial booking system has also worked somewhat not in our favour in Peel,” he said.

As a result of the low appointments, Loh said the region has written the province asking for a way to ensure “we’re ring-fencing a larger number of appointments for residents here in Peel,” especially given the rising occurrence of Delta variant cases.

As of June 14, more than 70 per cent of the adult population in Peel has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 15 per cent of those 18-plus having received a second dose.

“We’re certainly hopeful that we will be able to get additional allocation so that we can continue to open up appointments,” said Loh.