Having achieved its target to administer first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18+ ahead of schedule, the province is preparing to roll out the eligibility for accelerated second dose appointments starting with individuals aged 80 and over, beginning on Monday, May 31 at 8 am.
If there is sufficient vaccine supply, the province anticipates that the majority of Ontario residents who choose to receive the vaccine will be fully vaccinated by the end of summer.
“Having made so much progress administering first doses, we are now in a position to begin delivering second doses for a two-dose summer,” said Premier Ford. “If we receive more vaccines from the federal government, we’ll be able to accelerate our rollout further to offer more protection to Ontarians even sooner.”
While the interval between first and second doses can be up to 16 weeks, appointments will be available at an earlier interval, based on availability of vaccines. According to the province, the timing may vary based on local considerations, vaccine supply and the date of your first dose appointment.
As per an anticipated schedule, administration of second doses will begin with individuals turning 80 and over this year starting Monday, followed by individuals aged 70 and over scheduled to begin the week of June 14, 2021. The province will then continue to expand eligibility for second dose appointments based on date of first dose. The rollout of second doses may be further accelerated in the event that the federal government confirms increased vaccine deliveries, the province stated in a media statement issued on Friday.
The province says that Ontarians who have had their first dose and are eligible for an accelerated second dose may be able to return to the same site or channel where they received their first dose for their second dose appointment, or may choose to book an appointment at a different site or channel. Second dose appointments can be rebooked through the provincial booking system and through pharmacies.
For those in public health units who use their own booking system, or who received their doses from the primary care provider or through a pop-up clinic, more information will follow on how and when second dose booking and rebooking will be available. Second dose appointments can also be booked (without a first appointment) in the provincial booking system.
Ontario has already begun offering second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at an accelerated pace with a 10-week interval for individuals who received their first dose between March 10 to March 19, 2021. Acceleration of AstraZeneca second doses will be provided at a 12-week interval, dependent on vaccine supply, with booking eligibility based on the date of the first dose. Eligible individuals are urged to contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose to book an appointment. They might be redirected to a local pharmacy that is participating in administering second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Primary care settings and pharmacies may also be reaching out to eligible Ontarians.
The province will provide further guidance based on advice expected shortly from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) with respect to administering doses of two different vaccine types. This advice will be provided in advance of the 12-week interval when most people are needing to receive their second dose.
The government also continues to roll out first doses to Ontarians. Recently the province expanded eligibility to youth aged 12 and over to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, and public health units that use their own booking systems, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine.
To ensure as many youth as possible are fully vaccinated before the start of the school year, the province expects to provide a first dose to all willing youth aged 12 to 17 before the end of June, and a second dose before the end of August 2021.