Health authorities across Newfoundland and Labrador have opened COVID-19 vaccination appointments to people deemed clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus.
According to a news release issued Friday by Eastern Health, people who are deemed to be extremely vulnerable and are over the age of 16 can now book an appointment online using their health authority’s online booking portal.
Those trying to book an appointment must fit the criteria listed on the province’s COVID-19 website, and select ‘I am clinically extremely vulnerable’ when prompted. Appointments are also open in the Central Health, Western Health and Labrador-Grenfell Health regions.
The announcement came on the same day as the province invited rotational workers, truck drivers and flight crews to book their vaccination appointments. As of Thursday, the province had administered 150,624 vaccinations, with nearly 141,000 people receiving at least one dose.
The announcement means groups like cancer patients and those with severe respiratory conditions can now be vaccinated against COVID-19, along with:
- People with autoimmune conditions
- People with conditions treated with immune-suppressing medications
- People with cystic fibrosis
- People with developmental disabilities
- People with kidney disease
- People with neuromuscular and neurological diseases
- People who are pregnant and have heart disease
- People with rare diseases like sickle cell disease and blood diseases like thalassemia
- People who have serious spleen problems or have had their spleen removed
- People who have had organ or blood transplants, or bone marrow or stem cell transplants
The news brought a sense of relief for Wendy Cole of Conception Bay, who had her spleen removed due to a hereditary blood condition.
“Any infection that I get, like a simple cold, could turn into pneumonia. So I was so relieved,” Cole said Saturday. “I’d been checking the website every hour on the hour as of this week waiting for this.”
After some concern at the beginning of the second phase of the province’s vaccination plan, Cole said she was happy to see clinically extremely vulnerable people over the age of 60 be able to be vaccinated. She said it offers her a sense of protection, and a hope that she’ll be able to reunite with some of the family she hasn’t seen in over a year.
“For me, it means once I’m fully vaccinated it means maybe, just maybe, to go out and finally hug my daughter and my granddaughter. It’s that important to me.”
All four health authorities said people should talk to their doctor or a healthcare professional if they have any questions or need help booking an appointment, and should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms leading up to their appointment.