Windsor

Health unit says essential workers in Windsor-Essex could be vaccinated by end of April

The medical officer of health in Windsor-Essex says people who can't work from home like teachers and factory workers will be vaccinated sooner than the provincial government's timeline.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed says 'stay tuned' for announcement

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, at the Libro Credit Union Centre vaccine clinic on March 29, 2021. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

The medical officer of health in Windsor-Essex says he's expecting essential workers will be vaccinated sooner than the provincial government's timeline.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed said that the public health unit hopes to offer COVID-19 vaccinations for those who can't work from home by end of the month.

"I don't want to commit to a firm date yet but stay tuned. It will be much sooner than what is being reported by the provincial government," he said on Windsor Morning on Wednesday.

The news comes amid increasing calls to further prioritize frontline workers such as teachers and plant workers as more contagious variants of COVID-19 drive a third wave of the virus in Ontario.

The provincial government provided an update to its vaccination strategy, which has entered Phase 2, on Tuesday.

Essential workers who are younger, however, aren't expected to be eligible for vaccines until mid-May.

The province announced that those who are 50 and up in certain hotspot neighbourhoods in 13 health units across the province, including some postal codes in Windsor-Essex, will be eligible for vaccines.

Ahmed explained that the postal codes were selected based on case counts as well as social factors such as barriers to accessing health-care.

Ahmed, who said the region is ahead of other parts of the province in the vaccine rollout, said the health unit is also working on a strategy to vaccinate temporary foreign workers in the agriculture sector.

So far, one in five people in the region have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Across Ontario, just over 11 per cent of the population has received a shot.

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