Join the vaccine ‘standby’ list if you don’t yet have an appointment for the jab; age for Pfizer/Moderna also drops to 50 week of May 3

Natashca Wood photo, Nation Valley News

EASTERN ONTARIO — Sometimes, doses are left over at Eastern Ontario Health Unit vaccine clinics because people don’t show up. To prevent wasting them, the health unit has launched a new “standby” list for individuals willing to go on short notice to get one of these leftover shots.

Who is Eligible to Register for the Standby List?

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) invites eligible individuals to register online for the COVID-19 standby list at for upcoming vaccination clinics. Each week, registration for the standby list will open to individuals who:

  • are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine;
  • can arrive at the selected clinic location within 20 minutes of receiving a call;
  • have not yet booked an appointment; and
  • have not yet received their first dose.

It’s a not a replacement for booking an appointment!

The standby list is not a booking tool and should not be relied upon to schedule an appointment, emphasizes the EOHU. Individuals on the standby list are not guaranteed to be called in to receive a vaccine. They will only be called if there are unused doses available at the end of a clinic. The EOHU says it encourages these individuals to continue attempting to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system or another vaccination partner if accessible (e.g. pharmacy, participating primary care provider, or other).

The EOHU says it does everything it can to avoid wasting vaccine, and that all doses are otherwise “planned for and allocated.”  The situation arises when appointments are missed; once thawed for use at a clinic, the vaccine has a short lifespan and needs to go into somebody’s arm or it’s trash.

Age dropping to 50 ‘week of May 3’

Health unit clinics have been offering Pfizer and Moderna vaccines exclusively (as opposed to the AstraZeneca product administered through pharmacies to people as young as 40.) The minimum eligible age for the health unit rollout dropped to 55 this week (April 30). It’s slated to go down to age 50 next week — “the week of May 3” — though the province has not yet provided a specific date on when the online booking system opens to that younger age category. The week of May 10 will see the portal accept bookings from people 40 and over, and by May 24 the province intends to have it opened up to adults as young as 18.

The EOHU asks the public to refrain from tying up phone lines and online services unless they are eligible to book an appointment. “Cooperation from the public will go a long way to help ensure local vaccination clinics can operate efficiently and effectively.”

“It remains extremely important to continue following public health precautions — even if you have received the vaccine — until a large majority of residents in our region have been vaccinated,” adds the EOHU.


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