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Health unit plans launch of community vaccine clinics March 1

Details for booking appointments and specific clinic locations are still to come
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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will be opening several clinics to offer the vaccines against COVID-19 to more groups in the community starting March 1. 

Though more details are coming this week, the region's medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, confirmed today there will be clinics in Barrie, Innisfil, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, and in the Orillia area. There will also be two clinics in Muskoka, two in North Simcoe County and three in South Simcoe. 

The health unit is still facing a slowed supply of vaccines, and Gardner said that will be an important thing for people to consider once the clinics are open. 

"We will only be able to operate those sites with the volume of vaccine that we get, and I don't anticipate it's going to be large," said Gardner. "We will use the first [week or weeks] as an opportunity to fine-tune our operations. I would like [the public] to be aware of that and to hold their expectations accordingly."

The clinics will be offering vaccinations to the province-mandated priority groups. Gardner said they'll be starting with seniors aged 85 and older, Indigenous adults over 55, individuals receiving chronic home care, and health care workers. 

Later this week, the health unit will be releasing details on who can get the vaccine and how they can book an appointment. 

"Everybody wishes to get the vaccine, and in due course, it's important everybody get the vaccine," said Gardner during a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon. "But it's very important we provide it to those who need it most ahead of others." 

Currently, there is no way to book an appointment for these community clinics. That information will be announced later this week by the health unit. CollingwoodToday will have updates as they are available from the health unit.