MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- Residents in Middlesex-London, Elgin-Oxford and Huron-Perth who are in their late 70s will be able to book an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine starting on Monday.

The expansion comes the same day as Ontario health officials announced it was lowering the age threshold for vaccines in regions using the provincial booking system as of Monday.

Premier Doug Ford said Friday that more than half of Ontario residents over 80 have already received the first dose.

Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU), said in a statement they are ready for the new age group.

“We’ve been able to give more than 16,000 doses of vaccine to those over the age of 80…We have the vaccine and a proven process to get it into arms, so we’re excited to welcome those 75 to 79 to our vaccination clinics next week.”

In London-Middlesex, St. Thomas, Elgin and Oxford counties, residents who turn 75 this year and those older can book an appointment at www.covidvaccinelm.ca.

The MLHU says that some appointments will be available by calling 226-289-3560, online bookings are encouraged as a high volume of calls is expected.

In the Huron Perth Public Health region, residents can book by visiting www.hpph.ca/vaccine or calling 1-833-753-2098.

Appointments will be available up to April 5, but the public is asked to be patient with high demand expected.