Health P.E.I. is ramping up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, announcing Tuesday it will reopen mass vaccine clinics in Charlottetown and Summerside next week.
Islanders will be able to get their shots at the Eastlink Centre and County Fair Mall next Monday, with ongoing clinics to be held at the Rosedale Centre in Montague, the Souris Hospital and the O'Leary Health Centre.
The move is part of an effort to expand access to COVID-19 booster shots and the pediatric vaccine for children aged five to 11.
Health P.E.I. said thousands of new vaccination appointments will be released this week. New appointment slots for children are now available, with more across the province expected for Thursday.
As of Saturday, 41.9 per cent of children aged five to 11 have already gotten their first dose.
People can book these appointments online through Skip the Waiting Room, or by calling 1-844-975-3303.
Health P.E.I. also said Canadian Health Labs will be holding additional vaccine clinics for people over 18 who are eligible to get the booster shot.
Appointments can be booked at the organization's web portal, and work is being done so they can also be scheduled through Skip The Waiting Room in the future.
P.E.I. plans to deliver 19,600 doses at the mass clinics in January. Canadian Health Labs is aiming to deliver up to 13,925 doses.
Island pharmacies, in the meantime, are continuing to book large numbers, with about 10,000 doses available.
Health P.E.I. said similar vaccination numbers are expected for February and March as more people become eligible for boosters, though it added all its estimates are contingent on resources not being constrained due to rising COVID-19 cases.
"Getting a booster dose and vaccinating children are important strategies for protecting Islanders from the most serious outcomes of COVID, especially over the coming weeks and months," Marion Dowling, chief nursing and professional practice officer for Health P.E.I., said in a release.
As of Jan. 1, 2022, 71 per cent of people 80 and over and 33 per cent of those in their 70s have received a booster. Sixteen per cent of those in their 60s and 12 per cent of those in their 50s have also gotten a third shot.
Over 20,500 Islanders have received the booster.
Of eligible Islanders aged 12 and over, 92.3 per cent are fully vaccinated, and 95.5 per cent have received at least one shot.