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Some Ontario health units were set to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to their oldest residents Monday as a provincial website for appointment bookings was piloted in six regions.

Clinics were set to offer shots to those 80 and older in Windsor-Essex County and to those 85 and older in Hamilton.

The city of Hamilton warned of possible long wait times amid high call volumes to the COVID-19 hotline.

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“If you’re calling to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine (85+ years old only at this time), please be patient as there may be delays,” the city said in a Twitter post.

York Region also started taking appointments online Monday for people aged 80 and older.

Meanwhile, the province’s online booking system was to “soft launch” in six regions before its Ontario-wide launch in two weeks.

Eligible residents in Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington; Peterborough County-City; Hastings and Prince Edward Counties; Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark; Grey Bruce; and Lambton would be contacted to participate in the pilot, according to a government source.

Monday also saw renewed lockdowns begin in Thunder Bay, Ont., and in the Simcoe Muskoka health unit in response to rising COVID-19 cases in those areas.

Restrictions on businesses and gatherings were to loosen in seven other health units: Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent; Middlesex-London; Southwestern; Haldimand-Norfolk; Huron Perth; and Grey Bruce.

Ontario reported 1,023 new cases of COVID-19 today and six more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 280 new cases in Toronto, 182 in Peel Region and 72 in Ottawa.

Ontario says that 939 more cases were resolved since the last daily report.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says more Canadians will get vaccinated sooner now that a third vaccine has been approved in Canada and more doses of it have been secured. Health Canada's chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma says the AstraZeneca vaccine and all the others Health Canada has approved are safe and effective against COVID-19.

The Canadian Press

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