As we move further into Step Two of our Roadmap to Reopen, our government is accelerating second dose eligibility to 28 days for all individuals 12 years old and older to provide them with a strong level of protection against COVID-19 and to protect our health care capacity. On a positive note, we have just surpassed the milestone of fully vaccinating 50% of Ontarians. Locally, our Eastern Ontario Health Unit has announced that anyone 12 years old and older, who has not received their first vaccine dose, can do so without an appointment by just walking into one of their vaccine clinics. In addition, our youth between 12 and 17 years old can also receive their second dose without an appointment if it has been eight weeks or more since their first dose. Please check their website at www.eohu.cafor eligibility, locations, and times.
This 2nd dose acceleration builds on our commitment to make sure Ontarians enjoy a two-dose summer and allowing us to return to normal faster. As we look around the world, we see countries being impacted with variants of concern and dealing with a fourth wave and the resulting lockdowns. While we have had excellent cooperation in our vaccination programs to date, there are still concerns over fully vaccinating enough people to reach herd immunity in a timely manner. As more vaccines become available, more clinics are being added in our region and across the province, but over 20% of Ontarians have not yet received their first vaccine dose. The data is overwhelmingly clear, once vaccinated, your chance of being hospitalized, receiving long-term health impacts, or dying from CVID-19 is drastically reduced. 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.
With key public health and health care indicators continuing to improve and the provincewide vaccination rate surpassing the targets outlined in the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health the Ontario government is moving the province into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.
Step Three of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place.
The relaxed pandemic atmosphere still requires everyone to maintain best practices, especially as the more contagious Delta variant dominating Ontario remains active. More information is available at https://www.ontario.ca/reopening-ontario.
This week, the Minister of Education, Steven Lecce, released a new policy framework as part of our strategy for school boards to protect students from the heinous crime of sex-trafficking. Along with it, he announced $2.4 million in necessary training and resources investment to help ensure school boards and school staff have the tools they need to recognize, identify, respond and prevent the sex trafficking of children and youth. Ontario is now the first province in Canada to require an anti-sex trafficking strategy in all school boards – for every provincially funded school in all regions of our province. Ontario schools will increasingly play a critical role in preventing, identifying and recognizing the signs of sex trafficking with a singular focus on protecting your child’s safety. School boards will collaborate with community and police organizations with the goal of having protocols in place for all provincially-funded schools in January 2022. It is our government’s intention to deliver as normal, stable and safe school year as possible, especially with students aged 12-17 and education staff prioritized for both doses ahead of September.
Remember to maintain personal spacing, wear a mask, and book your vaccinations.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry