The Ontario government 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. Between April 2021 and July 2021, up to nine million Ontarians will be vaccinated, officials said.
“This is a true Team Ontario effort,” said Premier Ford. “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.”
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
- Certain workers who cannot work from home
Over 820,000 doses have been administered so far and over 269,000 Ontarians fully immunized, the provincial government said in a statement issued on Friday.
Some local public health units, based on local context and capacity, have been able to vaccinate some people aged over 80, before the anticipated time frame of mid-March.
Starting March 15, 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.
While some public health units are currently using their own booking systems to vaccinate individuals aged 80 and over, it is anticipated that the majority of public health units will transition to the provincial booking system after it has launched.
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, Windsor and the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington region, followed by specific primary care pilots in collaboration with public health units.
Ontario will enter Phase Three when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wishes to be immunized. While vaccines will not be mandated, during Phase Three, people will be strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the provincial government said.
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.
If you’re aged 80 or older and you don’t live in a congregate care setting, you may be able to book a vaccine appointment through your public health unit. Find your public health unit and contact them for information.
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.