SUDBURY -- Beginning today, residents of Sudbury and districts will now be able to receive their COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment at select clinics.

"Anyone who is eligible to receive their first or second dose of vaccine will be welcome to attend these walk-in clinics," Public Health Sudbury & Districts said in a news release.

"This approach will allow Public Health to make the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible and meet the incredible local demand, offering further protection as more individuals are eligible for their first or second doses."

The health unit is aware of problems booking vaccine appointments online or by calling the main number.

"Public Health is responding and doing everything possible to adapt our approaches to meet local need," the release said.

The first COVID-19 vaccination walk-in clinic will take place in Greater Sudbury today at Carmichael Arena.

"This is a new and exciting approach with unique conditions and challenges," the health unit said.

Unlike vaccine clinics where residents have appointments, residents should expect to wait in line for longer periods of time.

"We will do our best to accommodate everyone, however it is possible there will not be enough doses to offer vaccine to every person that attends a walk-in clinic," the release said.

"Public Health Sudbury & Districts is asking the public for patience and kindness as we roll out this new approach to get more vaccine in arms."

Walk-in clinic dates, locations, and times.

Espanola

- June 16 at the Espanola Recreation Centre between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. There will be up to 200 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Greater Sudbury

- June 14 at the Carmichael Arena between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be up to 450 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

- June 15 at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be up to 500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

- June 16 at the Centennial Community Centre and Arena (Hanmer) between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be up to 250 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

- June 17 at the Dr. Edgar Leclair Community Centre and Arena (Azilda) between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be up to 150 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

- June 18 at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be up to 450 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Manitoulin Island

- June 15 at the NEMI Recreation Centre (Little Current) between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. There will be up to 180 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Sudbury East

- June 17 at the St. Charles Community Centre between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There will be up to 65 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Second dose information

Those currently eligible for a second dose include individuals 70 years of age and older in 2021 and those who received a first dose on or before April 18, 2021. Individuals are also eligible for their second dose at the original interval if they have certain health conditions or are members of high-risk population groups.

As the Province of Ontario continues to announce individuals who will be eligible for shortened second dose intervals, Public Health will communicate those opportunities locally when more details are known. Visit phsd.ca and check the provincial online booking system often for updates and opportunities to book their second dose. Public Health Sudbury & Districts is continually adding clinics and appointments.

Vaccine interchangeability

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has stated that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be interchanged for first and second doses. If you got a first dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) you should be offered the same mRNA vaccine for your second dose if the vaccine supply allows. If the same mRNA vaccine is not readily available, another mRNA vaccine can be interchanged to complete the vaccine series. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe to be used together in a vaccine schedule.

If your first dose was AstraZeneca, for your second dose you can choose to receive either:

- A second dose of AstraZeneca. If you choose a second dose of AstraZeneca, you can get your second dose eight weeks after the first.

- An mRNA vaccine (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). If you choose an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) for your second dose, you can book a second dose only appointment eight weeks after your first dose.

Preparing for a walk-in clinic or COVID-19 vaccination appointment

- Bring your health card. If you do not have a health card or your health card is expired, bring another form of government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport, Status card, or birth certificate.

- Eat and drink something before you arrive at your appointment to prevent feeling faint or dizzy while being vaccinated.

- Wear a top that allows for easy access to the upper arm such as a loose-fitting top or a T-shirt.

- Wear a mask that covers your nose, mouth, and chin.

- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not attend the clinic.

For information on local vaccine eligibility, how to book an appointment, and for upcoming vaccination clinic dates, types, and locations, click here. For more information or if you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please click here or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).