While more and more residents are now able to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments through mass vaccination clinics and the Northwestern Health Unit, community members above the age of 55 are still able to receive their vaccines at their local pharmacy.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford says the move to add pharmacies into the government’s ongoing roll-out plan was something he had been fighting for to not only provide more vaccines to residents, but to help the private sector during the lengthy and ongoing pandemic.

“We are part of a fair and population-based distribution. I’m thrilled to see local pharmacies get this. I’ve felt like the private sector should play a role in this. There’s been a lot of government control over the roll-out, and pharmacies have proven to be a very effective outlet.”

The No Frills Pharmacy in Kenora, Shoppers Drug Mart in Dryden, the Pharmasave in Fort Frances and about 700 other pharmacies in the province are now able to provide the shot, and appointments can be booked through your pharmacy directly.

The Northwestern Health Unit’s mass vaccination clinics are now accepting appointments for residents born in 1961 or earlier, as well as:

• Health Care Workers, including staff who work in congregate living settings
• Adult Home Care Recipients
• Faith leaders who provide end of life care, care of the deceased, funerals, home visits to unwell persons, or pastoral care in hospitals, LTCH, etc.
• Indigenous adults, including Metis aged 18+ (and their household members)

Those with the following health conditions:

• Organ transplant recipients;
• Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients;
• People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis);
• Haematological malignancy diagnosed less than one year ago;
• Sickle cell disease;
• Kidney disease eGFR< 30; and • Essential caregivers for individuals in the groups listed above

Anyone who is in the groups listed above must fill out the NWHU’s registration form to then receive a booking code and instructions from the Ministry of Health. More information on the booking process can be found HERE.

Rickford, who also serves as the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs, continues to ask every eligible resident to receive their vaccination as soon as possible to help protect the northwestern Ontario community, and to continue following public health guidelines.

“This sends a clear message that with this third wave, the co-variant wave if you will, the threat is very real, even in our own communities. Use common sense. Follow the rules, and try to limit your mobility to the extent possible.”

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in contact with a positive case is asked to immediately self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known.