York Region says it will start allowing those between 18 and 49 to book booster shots at city-run clinics on Monday.

The Ontario government announced last month that anyone 18 and over would be allowed to book a booster shot roughly three months after their second dose appointment from Dec. 20 on.

Speaking with CP24 Friday, York Region medical officer of health Dr. Barry Pakes said the health unit took a different approach in order to try to make sure that those 50 and over were able to access shots.

“People who are younger and healthier and less at risk were likely to be much more well-versed in booking things online. And we felt quite strongly that we wanted to give preference to the 50-plus group and before that, of course, the 70-plus group,” Pakes said. “I think that strategy has borne out quite well.

So far, York Region residents who are in the 18 to 49 age group have been able to book through select pharmacies and the provincial system.

“I think across the province, different health units have done it differently, sometimes offering specific clinics for those more vulnerable folks,” Pakes said. “We did that as well, but I think now it's a good time to open up for everyone. Our clinics, just like around the province, are still full.”

The region said the new appointments come as it expands hours and opens new vaccination sites.

Starting Monday at 8:30 a.m., 30,000 new booster dose appointments will be available across all York Region COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

York Region Public Health also said Friday that it will be offering prioritized appointments for education staff, including teachers, custodial staff, administrative staff, school bus drivers and licensed child-care centre staff. The region said two clinics are being planned for Jan.15 and 16, with 10,000 appointments available through school boards and child-care centres.

Local clinics will continue to accept walk-in appointments for those who need a first or second dose.

Roughly 30 per cent of all Ontario residents have had a booster shot so far. On Thursday Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said that it is "crucial" that the province accelerate its booster rollout. The province said in early December that it would aim to give out 200,000 to 300,000 shots per day, but has fallen short of that goal. Over the past week, Ontario averaged 133,053 vaccine doses per day, most of them booster shots.

Close to 37 per cent of those Ontarians 18 and over have had a third dose so far.