KITCHENER -- Thousands of people took advantage of Waterloo Region's online COVID-19 pre-registration form in the first day of its launch.

A spokesperson for the region said that, as of 8 a.m. on Thursday, more than 4,200 people had signed up. The afternoon before, the region's vaccine distribution task force announced that the site had launched.

The first couple of hours after it launched, the region said it was averaging about 500 pre-registrations per hour, or more than eight per minute.

The region's pre-registration is only available for those in Phase One priority groups under the province's vaccination rollout plan.

Officials said Wednesday that vaccination appointments could be available as early as this week, depending on vaccine supply.

People can pre-register online or by calling 519-575-4400, but officials say online registration will be faster as the call centre may experience high volume.

Pre-registration is available to the following groups:

  • Adult recipients of chronic home health care
  • Adults over the age of 80
  • Essential caregivers for people in long-term care or retirement homes
  • Health-care workers
  • Indigenous adults
  • Staff, residents and caregivers in congregate settings
  • Staff in long-term care and retirement homes

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph launched its pre-registration system for priority groups on Tuesday.

The Ontario government expects to roll out a province-wide registration system in mid-March.