MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Health Unit is expanding vaccination rebooking availability to anyone who received their first dose on or before May 30.

The expansion means an additional 75,000 to 80,000 people are now eligible to rebook their second doses starting Thursday.

Fortunately, a new vaccine shipment expected this weekend means the addition of 40,000 appointments at mass vaccination clinics and 2,000 through primary care physicians.

Residents are reminded, however, that they must book their second shot appointment at least 28 days after their first dose if they got an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for their first dose.

MLHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie says, "So even if you're eligible to rebook earlier, you still have to wait until 28 days after your first dose and you will be declined at the clinic if you come before 28 days after your first dose."

Anyone who received an Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose must schedule their second dose at least eight weeks after their first dose, regardless of whether they are receiving another AstraZeneca dose or an mRNA vaccine for the second shot.

Most of the new appointments are being made available at the Western Fair District Agriplex and the Earl Nichols Arena vaccination centres, but appointments at pop-op clinics are also available.

Appointments in the system can be booked up to one month ahead, or check with your local pharmacy or primary health care provider for other options.

Mackie stresses that, "With the increasing numbers of the Delta variant, it is so important for people to get that second dose."

The Delta variant, which originated in India, spreads more easily and a single vaccine dose is not as protective against it compared to other variants.

Health officials hope to open rebooking to the entire population as soon as Monday.

If you are eligible to rebook visit covidvaccinelm.ca or call 226-289-3560 between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.