KITCHENER -- The Region of Waterloo Public Health unit has opened pre-registration for several groups.

The groups are classified as essential worker, who cannot work from home.

"It's about time that the folks on the front line are actually being considered front-line workers," said OECTA Waterloo Region President Patrick Etmanski said.

Anyone working in elementary and secondary schools can get on the list for vaccines now. However, time is ticking to get both doses before the start of the next school year. Doses can be up to 16 weeks apart.

"It's good to see that this is now a priority and hopefully we can get everyone done by September," Etmanski said.

Vanja Lakic, the executive director of Steckle Heritage Farm, said it's good news that employees can sign up for vaccines, even if their public programs are paused due to the pandemic.

"We do have essential work that we are doing here, feeding the animals and taking them out and planting crops," Lakic said. "It's definitely helpful to know that you're protected."

The region said it could take between four and six weeks to get a vaccine appointment.

Anyone 40 or older in the region can get an AstraZeneca vaccine at select pharmacies and primary care offices.

The list includes:

  • 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 childcare (including all licensees, employees and students on educational placements who interact directly with children in licensed childcare centres and in authorized recreation and skill building programs, licensed home child care and in-home service providers, employees of home child care agencies and students on education placement)
  • Foster care agenda workers (including customary care providers)
  • Food manufacturing and distribution workers
  • Agriculture and farm workers
  • Funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers