Vaccination clinic

Ontario expands COVID-19 vaccination bookings to people 45 and over in hot spots

As of 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 27, Ontarians 45 and over in 2021, living in one of 114 high-risk neighbourhoods, will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a mass immunization clinic.

“This is a step forward in Phase Two of our vaccine distribution plan to ensure we are protecting people and communities most at risk,” provincial Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement on Tuesday. “By using every available channel to deliver vaccines, we are working to vaccinate Ontarians as quickly as possible and stop the spread in our communities. I encourage everyone who is eligible to book their appointment as soon as they can.”

The province also announced that, as of Thursday, April 29, child care workers in licensed child care settings across the province will also be eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Eligible child care workers (in licensed settings) will receive a letter from their employers. This letter must be available at the time of booking and taken to the vaccination appointment.

In the coming weeks, eligibility will be expanded to child care workers in unlicensed settings across the province.

“Ontario’s child care workers are making a difference and supporting working parents at this critical time,” Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, said in a statement. “That’s why child care workers provincewide will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment. Our child care centres are safe and the expansion of vaccines will further protect children and staff.”

Meanwhile, some Ontario pharmacies may soon be able to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines as part of a pilot project.

On Monday, Elliott noted that the province is working on the project, which would deliver the Pfizer shot to several pharmacies. The government is looking into how to manage storage and transportation requirements for the vaccine.

Ontario began offering 24/7 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations for individuals aged 40 and over (as of last Wednesday, April 21) at select pharmacies in the province. However, it was also announced last week that the province’s upcoming AstraZeneca shipments may be delayed until May, so the latest announcement comes as a welcome relief for some.

Elliot also said that the province will allocate 50% of its vaccines to hot spot areas once it receives Pfizer vaccine shipments.

This is in accordance with recommendations from Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. Last Friday, they released a vaccination strategy for Ontario COVID-19 hotspots and essential workers. It noted that early analysis of the province’s vaccine rollout revealed inequities in vaccine coverage across the province, with residents of higher risk neighbourhoods being least likely to get vaccinated.

“Accelerating the vaccination of residents and essential workers in COVID-19 hotspots will substantially reduce the overall incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections, COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths among both younger and older Ontarians,” the report concluded.

Ontario reported 3,265 cases of COVID-19 and 29 more deaths on Tuesday. The new case numbers include 1,044 new cases in Toronto, 673 in Peel, 452 in York Region, 171 in Durham and 150 in Ottawa.

As of Tuesday, 4,791,030 doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Ontario out of 5,248,345 doses delivered. This means that 91.3% of doses delivered have been administered, with 30.058% of Ontarians having received at least one dose.

The province also reported that 2,336 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of Monday, with 875 in ICU due to COVID-related critical illnesses, and 589 in ICU on ventilators due to COVID-related critical illnesses.

Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario updates.

Article exclusive to TRNTO