ONTARIO – In an announcement on Thursday, April 29, the province of Ontario stated that they would be expanding the eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to all individuals over the age of 18 by the week of May 24.
The province explained that starting May 1 the province will begin receiving 800,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine each week, and that half of those doses will be sent to hotspot locations as identified by postal code. The province expects that the amount of vaccine made available to Ontario will increase to 940,000 doses a week by the end of May.
“Ontario’s vaccine rollout is continuing to focus on getting vaccines to those most at risk” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “With a stable and reliable supply of vaccines on the way, we will continue expanding access to the vaccine in communities across the province, especially those areas that continue to be hit hardest by COVID-19. The best vaccine remains the first one you’re offered, and I strongly encourage everyone to sign up as soon as it’s their turn.”
Starting on April 30, eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine will be lowered to those aged 55 and older. Individuals in that age bracket are already eligible for the AztraZeneca version of the COVID-19 vaccine which is currently only available at select pharmacies.
Vaccination appointments for the Pfizer vaccine can be booked on the province of Ontario website.
“With the increase in vaccine supplies, workplace vaccination clinics have begun this week and we are focusing our immunization efforts in areas where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “As we move closer to accessing a more stable supply of vaccines from the federal government, we must do all we can to save lives and reduce hospitalizations by staying home and following public health measures.”
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) stated that the province had doubled the region’s allocation of the Pfizer vaccine in the last week of May and that he had added more clinics and noted that this did not take into account additional doses of the Moderna and AstraZeneca versions of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I do believe we will have a good portion of the population done by the end of May going into June,” he said.
Dr. Roumeliotis stated that by the end of Friday, April 30 the EOHU would have distributed 60,000 doses of the vaccine and estimated to be able to distribute an additional 50,000 by the end of May.