Across the province, we continue to successfully move through Step 1 of the Reopening Ontario plan. The more contagious Delta variant remains a threat and a concern, but our plan, along with the intensive vaccination program, is working to drop our active case numbers to levels not seen since last summer. We are now able to graduate two days ahead of schedule to Step 2 on Wednesday, June 30. This will allow for more openings, including personal care, hairdressers, and barbers. More information can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/reopening-ontario.
Our Moderna supply was more than sufficient to offset delays in our Pfizer shipments this week, allowing for continued acceleration of second doses across the province. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has approved the interchanging of the Moderna and Pfizer, as both use a similar mRNA technology and are safe to mix. The more contagious and severe Delta variant has become the dominant strain in many parts of Canada, causing great concern. All vaccines provided as part of the province’s vaccine rollout provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant.
This week, Ontarians who received their first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine on or before May 9, 2021, became eligible to book or rebook their second dose appointment at a shortened interval. Next week, all Ontarians aged 18 and over who have received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine will be eligible to book their second shot, with a minimum interval of at least 28 days after their first dose, per the manufacturer’s recommended interval. Two doses of any vaccine provide over 90 percent protection against contracting this virus. You can book your vaccine appointments at our local clinics and pharmacies at www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by calling 1-888-999-6488 if you have a red and white OHIP card or need assistance. As of June 21, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit vaccination team had administered first doses to nearly 75 percent of the region’s adult population.
As part of the 2021 Budget, our government announced a total of $1.8 billion in additional investments in 2021-22 to support our hospitals and ensure patients can access high-quality care at hospitals across the province when they need it. This included an increase of $778 million in operating funding to meet current and future demands for services. Locally, our region’s five hospitals will receive almost $6 million in additional operating funds. Every day, Ontario’s hospitals go above and beyond to provide exceptional care to the people of Ontario. While this has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that their compassion and commitment to care for Ontarians will continue once the pandemic ends.
I want to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day. While we may not be able to celebrate the day as in years gone by, we must take a moment to reflect on our great country and the sacrifices made by our predecessors who built this country and made it the envy of the world. Remember to maintain personal spacing, wear a mask, and book your vaccinations.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry