Vaccination Rollout Update- March 5, 2021
Due to the incredible work of an army of people, we now have a solid vaccine distribution plan and we are ready to get needles into arms as soon as the doses arrive. Vaccines will be administered in hospital clinics, primary care settings, mass vaccination sites, mobile clinics and pharmacies across the province by dedicated, caring and compassionate frontline health care heroes. I can assure you that there will be enough vaccines for everyone who wants one with the goal to have the Phase Three group with at least their first shot by June 2021.
If you are over the age of 80, you can register for your vaccine today at the following site: https://trilliumhealthpartners.ca/covid-19/A/vaccine.html
Starting March 15th, the province will launch an online booking system and a provincial customer service desk to answer questions and support appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics. This will initially support individuals over the age of 80 as part of Phase One, eventually extending to more groups during Phase Two.
The City of Toronto will have over 350 clinics administering the vaccine, these will include mobile units, 249 pharmacy locations, 20 hospital run clinics and 46 community health centres. As of April 1, 2021, there will also be nine city-run sites which includes the Cloverdale Mall, these sites will be open seven days a week, nine hours per day, with the goal to vaccinate 120,000 people per week.
This is a team effort, and we will continue to work collaboratively with vaccination sites and other healthcare partners to ensure we have the most successful vaccine rollout in the country.
Today, the government announced that it is preparing to move into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, with a focus on vaccinating populations based on age and risk.
With vaccine supply stabilizing and over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government before the end of March, the province will enter Phase Two of its vaccine rollout. Between April 2021 and July 2021, up to nine million Ontarians will be vaccinated.
During Phase Two, groups that will receive the vaccine include:
- Older adults between 60-79 years of age;
- Individuals with specific health conditions and some primary caregivers;
- People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers;
- People who live in hot spots with high rates of death, hospitalizations and transmission; and,
- Certain workers who cannot work from home.
For more information on populations eligible for Phase Two, click here.
As supply increases, Ontarians will be able to get vaccinated with the three Health Canada approved vaccines in several new settings. In addition to hospitals, mobile clinics and mass vaccination clinics, the province is working with the pharmacy sector and with primary care professionals to offer vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations in collaboration with public health units. A pilot for pharmacy vaccine administration is planned for mid-March in select regions, including Toronto.
For the month of March, Ontario is expecting to receive 870,480 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 483,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Health care professionals who are able to administer the vaccine can register and apply through Ontario's Matching Portal. This could include physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and registered practical nurses, along with pharmacists, pharmacy students, interns and pharmacy technicians.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Expected dates when age groups can expect to be immunized?
Based on the supply we currently expect to receive from the federal government, Phase One is expected to be complete at the end of March, and Phase Two will begin in April. Here is an estimate of when the following populations can expect to receive a vaccine:
- Week of March 15: individuals aged 80+
- Week of April 15: individuals aged 75+
- Week of May 1: individuals aged 70+
- Week of June 1: individuals aged 65+
It’s important to note that dates are estimates and may change. Many factors play a role in determining dates, including federal procurement, Health Canada approvals of vaccines, and local public health unit capacity and population needs.
- Why are seniors above the age of 80 able to register for vaccines in other regions of Ontario, but not yet in Toronto?
Toronto Public Health unit decided not to have their own portal for registrations. The government of Ontario’s portal will be available on March 15 for booking appointments.
- Can seniors over the age of 65 get an AstraZeneca vaccine shot?
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to those 64 and younger. Having said that for seniors above the age of 64 it will be each individual’s choice if they want to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine or not. The pharmacist will explain all the details about the vaccine once you have an appointment and allow you to decide.
- How and when is Ontario planning to contact and vaccinate those 80 years of age and over?
Starting March 15th, Ontarians over 80 will be eligible to use the provincial online booking system and customer service desk to make their appointments. In addition, a notable proportion of this group lives in congregate care settings for seniors and can be reached through those settings. Mobile delivery will expand to continue the vaccination to other congregate settings for seniors.
Some regions have begun offering first-dose vaccinations to the remainder of the phase one populations, including adults 80 years of age and older. If they begin to do so ahead of the launch of the provincial booking system, each public health unit will book these appointments using existing services. We anticipate many public health units to transition to the provincial booking system once it has launched.
- Why is Ontario extending the interval between first and second doses? What does this mean for individuals who have already been booked for their second dose? Will they receive the same type of vaccine?
NACI has provided recommendation to extend the vaccination dose interval up to four months for all vaccines while while maintaining a strong and sustained level of protection from COVID-19. This will allow Ontario to rapidly accelerate its vaccine rollout and maximize the number of people receiving first dose within a context of limited supply, pending vaccine supply from the federal government.
TORONTO MOVING TO GREY-LOCKDOWN
I want to assure you that our government is taking a safe and cautious approach to returning to the Framework and due to our progress, all regions of the province will soon be out of the provincewide shutdown. Despite this positive step forward, a return to the Framework is not a “return to normal;” as we continue vaccinating more Ontarians, it remains critical for everyone to continue to follow public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities. Thank you for your continued co-operation, which has made this encouraging progress possible.
The Ontario Government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced that it is transitioning the Toronto public health region out of the shutdown and into the revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open with the Stay-at-Home order no longer in effect. All changes will be effective Monday, March 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. Please
Based on the latest modelling data, the efforts of Ontarians in following public health measures and advice are working to decrease the number of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the province.
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Please note that my office is closed for in-person visits but we are available by telephone and email to serve your needs. Thank you for doing your part, stay home, stay safe and save lives.
Christine Hogarth, MPP
Etobicoke - Lakeshore