KITCHENER -- As Waterloo Region moves into Phase Two of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan, the Ministry of Health has released more details on who's eligible for a vaccination under that phase.

People in Waterloo Region between the ages of 70 and 79 can now pre-register for a vaccine appointment.

As many as 9 million people in the province are eligible to get a shot in Phase Two, which is expected to come into full effect in April.

The province says the primary priority populations that will be offered the vaccine first are:

  • Adults aged 60-79, starting with those 75-79 and decreasing in five year increments
  • Individuals with health conditions, starting with highest risk and high-risk health conditions
  • Residents, essential caregivers and staff of high-risk congregate settings
  • Adults age 50 and older in COVID-19 hot spot communities, starting with older individuals and increasing in age

Phase Two vaccine rollout

The highest risk health conditions are defined as:

  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • Neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neurone disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
  • Haematological malignancy diagnosed <1 year
  • Kidney disease eGFR <30
  • High-risk health conditions are:
  • Obesity (BMI >40)
  • Other treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, immunity-weakening medications)
  • Intellectual or developmental disabilities (e.g., Down Syndrome)

After those in the first priority groups are offered a first dose of the vaccine, clinics can then move on to vaccinate the secondary priority groups which are:

  • Remaining individuals with at-risk health conditions
  • Essential workers who cannot work from home
  • At-risk health conditions include
  • Immune deficiencies/autoimmune disorders
  • Stroke/cerebrovascular disease
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • All other cancers
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Spleen problems (e.g., asplenia)
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension with end organ damage
  • Diagnosis of mental disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Pregnancy
  • Immunocompromising health conditions
  • Other disabilities requiring direct support care in the community

The list of essential workers who cannot work from home is further divided into two priority groups.

The first essential workers who will be offered the vaccine first are:

  • Elementary and secondary school workers (including educators, custodial, school bus drivers, administrative staff)
  • Workers responding to critical events (including police, fire, special constables, children’s aid society workers, emergency management, critical infrastructure restoration workers)
  • Enforcement, inspection and compliance roles (including by-law enforcement, building inspectors, food inspectors, animal welfare inspectors, border inspection officers, labour inspectors/WSIB field workers)
  • Individuals working in child care (including all licensees and employees who interact directly with children at licensed child care centres and authorized recreation and skill building programs, licensed home child care and in-home service providers, employees of a home child care agency and students on educational placements in child care)
  • Foster care agency workers (including customary care providers)
  • Food manufacturing and distribution workers
  • Agriculture and farm workers
  • Funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers

The second group of essential workers who cannot work from home that will receive the vaccine are:

  • Essential and critical retail workers (including grocery, food bank and non-clinical pharmacy workers, ServiceOntario workers, ServiceCanada and Passport Canada workers, wholesalers and general goods, restaurant workers, LCBO)
  • Workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting the COVID-19 response, construction including infrastructure and other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and spread
  • Social workers and other social services staff providing in-person client services (including youth justice workers, OW and ODSP case workers)
  • Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole workers)
  • Transportation, warehousing and distribution workers (including public transit workers, truck drivers supporting essential services, marine and rail cargo and maintenance, highway maintenance)
  • Electricity (including workers employed in system operations, generation, transmission, distribution and storage)
  • Communications infrastructure workers (including cellular, satellite, landline, internet, public safety radio)
  • Water and wastewater management workers
  • Financial services workers (bank branch staff)
  • Veterinarians and veterinary teams
  • Waste management workers
  • Oil and petroleum workers (including those working in petroleum refineries; those involved in the storage, transmission and distribution of crude oil and petroleum products and those needed for the retail sale of fuel)
  • Natural gas and propane gas workers (including those working in the compression, storage, transmission and distribution of natural gas and propane)
  • Mine workers (including those needed to ensure the continued operation of active mines)
  • Uranium processing workers (those working in the refining and conversion of uranium, and fabrication of fuel for nuclear power plants)

Workers who are attending vaccine clinics in the community will be asked to make an in-person attestation that they are an essential workers who cannot work from home, which could include signing a form.

They may also need to provide a workplace ID or badge, pay stub, professional identification number, statement of professional insurance or letter of employment.

The province’s document also provides guidance to clinics on what should be done with remaining doses at the end of the day, to ensure vaccine is not wasted.

Vaccine clinics are told to have a list of standby alternate recipients that may be called at short notice to get a shot.

The people on that list should be within the same or next priority level as those currently being vaccinated, such as people who have scheduled appointments later in the week or who are next in line for an appointment.