LONDON, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is making 6,900 additional vaccination appointments available to specific members of the public Thursday morning.

Appointments need to be made online through its website or by calling 226-289-3560 starting at 8 a.m.

The new appointments will be available to adults who are 80 years or older, Indigenous adults 55 and older along with very high priority healthcare workers.

Demand is expected to be very high and a number of the appointment times will be available exclusively to those booking by telephone. The health unit encourages residents to continue trying on the phone throughout the day, even if they can't get through the first time.

Appointments will be set sometime between Thursday and March 18 at the Agriplex or in Mt. Brydges at the Caradoc Community Centre.

"More than 5,300 appointments were booked in less than 26 hours, many people have been disappointed because they haven’t been able to get through on the phone,” says Dr. Chris Mackie with the MLHU.

“We have reserved a number of appointments for telephone bookings...and I want to encourage people to keep trying to get through over the course of the day if you aren’t able to connect with one of our telephone agents right away.”

Meanwhile, those over 80 living in Huron-Perth can also now start booking vaccine appointments by visiting the public health website or calling 1-833-753-2098. Phone lines will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. but booking online is recommended.