Ontario Helping People Get their COVID-19 VaccinationPublished on March 23, 2021
The Ontario government is investing $3.7 million as part of the 2021 Budget to help seniors and people with disabilities get their COVID-19 vaccinations, where transportation is a barrier. The Province is launching this initiative to remove that barrier and ensure that anyone who wants a vaccine is able to get a vaccine.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, and General Rick Hillier (retired) while touring the new mass-vaccine clinic at Thorncliffe Park in Toronto.
"It is critically important to ensure that our most vulnerable get the protection of a COVID-19 vaccine and that's why we are doing everything we can to remove any and all barriers," said Premier Ford. "In our 2021 Budget we are providing funding to help people get to the vaccines, or to bring the vaccines to them. The health and safety of our seniors and people with disabilities is a top priority."
Ontario will work with local communities and public health units, to implement this vital service for those who need assistance. More details on how this program will work will be available in the coming days.
"At community centres, doctors' offices, pharmacies and hospitals across the province our health care workers are delivering vaccines that will help us get back to normal; that's what hope looks like," said Minister Bethlenfalvy. "Tomorrow's Budget will prioritize funding to vaccinate every person who wants to be vaccinated, as soon as vaccine shipments arrive. Nothing will prevent us from getting the job done."
"Many people with disabilities want to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but they need support in getting to vaccination sites," said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. "We are taking this important step by providing funding to help them access safe and accessible transportation to get to their vaccination appointments - or by bringing the vaccines to them."
The government has a comprehensive and integrated vaccination plan that starts with Ontario's most vulnerable people and frontline health care workers. Phase One of Ontario's vaccination rollout is well underway and Phase Two is expected to begin in April.
As of early March 2021, over 80 per cent of the long-term care residents are fully immunized and public health units are working with homes to vaccinate staff and essential caregivers as a priority. The government has enabled and is mobilizing additional health care providers to help administer the vaccine, including registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, paramedics and pharmacy students.
Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. On Wednesday, March 24, the government will release the 2021 Ontario Budget. It will focus on protecting people's health, with a plan to defeat COVID-19, and support for people and jobs.
- Visit Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine web page to get information on the province’s three-phase immunization program, the populations currently eligible for vaccination, and instructions on how to book an appointment when you are eligible.
- For people who will be 75 or older in 2021 who do not have internet access, please call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488, open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- To support the administration of the vaccine, public health units are ramping up their capacity over the month of March, including over 150 planned mass immunization clinics, over 50 hospital hub sites, and over 55 mobile units.
- A pilot for pharmacy vaccine administration began on March 12 in Toronto, Windsor and the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington region. To book an appointment, eligible Ontarians aged 60 and over can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy.
- Vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations, such as physician offices, began in Hamilton, Toronto, Guelph, Peterborough, Simcoe-Muskoka, and Peel as of Saturday March 13, 2021. Primary care providers will not be taking appointments by request, but will be contacting eligible Ontarians aged 60 and over directly to book an appointment. They will only be offering the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine at this time.
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
- Eligible people can visit the provincial booking system to find out how they can schedule their vaccine appointments, or check the website of their local public health unit.