KITCHENER -- People aged 18 and over living in Waterloo Region’s high-priority neighbourhoods will be able to pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday.

The high-priority neighbourhoods are:

  • Vanier/Rockway (Kitchener)
  • Country Hills (Kitchener)
  • Alpine/Laurentian (Kitchener)
  • Victoria Hills/Cherry Hill (Kitchener)
  • Shades Mills (Cambridge)
  • Columbia/Lakeshore (Waterloo)

According to a news release, Waterloo Region public health officials say anyone who was born in 2003 and is turning 18 this year will be eligible to pre-register.

"I feel very safe now knowing that everyone else will be getting the vaccine," said Hasina Mirza, who lives in one of the neighbourhoods. "I feel like we are slowly getting back to normal life."

"Everybody is so excited about getting in line to get the vaccine, so let's make it available where it's needed the most," Waterloo Coun. Angela Vieth said. "I think this is a good neighbourhood to start with in Waterloo."

Kitchener Coun. Paul Singh said it's positive news that more people are eligible, but said it's concerning that the majority of people in his ward have a higher infection rate for the disease. He called hundreds of people living in Ward 6 to let them know about the expanded eligibility.

"Picking up the phone and telling residents and encouraging them to get vaccinated if they're eligible," he said. "Now that it's 18+, that's almost everyone in a household."

Officials are encouraging people to pre-register as soon as they are able to do so.

They say that opening up pre-registration to additional groups will help the Waterloo Region Vaccine Distribution Task Force prepare for the next group to be vaccinated.

Anyone who has already pre-registered and is waiting for a booking invitation will be contacted within four to six weeks as vaccines become available. Officials also note that residents will be invited to book an appointment in the order they were invited to pre-register.

The news release also states that the Task Force is working to increase access to vaccines in high-priority neighbourhoods through a variety of clinic options, including pop-up clinics.

Dates for these clinics will be announced at a later date.

For the next two weeks the province has announced it is allocating more vaccines to communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and is expanding the eligibility to those 18 and over in 114 postal codes.

The province has identified as the N2C postal code of Kitchener as a high-priority neighbourhood. Everyone 18 and over living in that area is now able to pre-register for a vaccine.