COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Canada are ramping up after significant delays and provinces are releasing additional details around vaccinating the general population, largely by age group.
As vaccines continue to be distributed across the provinces the rules around expanding vaccinations, primarily outside of long-term care facilities, frontline healthcare workers and remote communities, differs between jurisdictions.
Retired general Rick Hillier, chair of Ontario's COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, announced Wednesday Ontarians 80 and older, who haven't already received a vaccine in long-term care or retirement homes, can be vaccinated in the third week of March.
Ontario's online and phone booking system for COVID-19 vaccines will launch on March 15.
The age breakdown of vaccination registration is as follows in Ontario:
March 15: Individuals 80 and over become eligible
April 15: Individuals 75 and over become eligible
May 1: Individuals 70 and over become eligible
June 1: Individuals 65 and over become eligible
July 1: Individuals 60 and over become eligible
Hillier said it's expected that about 10 to 20 per cent of vaccine supplies will be distributed by pharmacies, at the start of this next phase of vaccinations.
He added that the final decisions have not been made around how essential workers will be prioritized, but he expects the province will not start vaccinating them until May.
While Ontario's vaccine registration process will not begin until March 15, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has launched an online platform for individuals in priority groups to pre-register for their COVID-19 vaccination.
The priority groups include:
Individuals who are least 80 years old
Members of the Indigenous community;
An employee or essential caregiver in a long-term care or retirement home
An adult receiving chronic home care (Waterloo Wellington or Central West LHIN)
Working or volunteering in a health-care organization
A worker providing health-care services or direct patient care outside of a healthcare organization
When vaccines become available for each group, the local public health unit will use the contact information provided in the pre-registration to begin the process of scheduling a day and time for vaccinations.
Albertans who are 75 years old or older (born in 1946 or earlier) can now go online or call 811 to book an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccine.
The province will also offer vaccines at 100 participating community pharmacies in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary, beginning the first week of March. Seniors with mobility issues can call 211 for assistance with finding a ride to a vaccination site.
The Alberta government is still working to establish the sequencing for younger age groups.
First dose appointments are now available in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson for Manitobans born on or before Dec. 31, 1925, and First Nations people born on or before Dec. 31, 1945.
Anyone born on or before Dec. 31, 1955 who works in a congregate living setting can also schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to individuals who work in acute care facilities, emergency response services, specialty patient transportation, correctional facilities, dental offices, long-term care homes, facilities providing services insured by Manitoba Health and Seniors Care, and home-care workers
Appointments can be made through the vaccine call centre.
Beginning on Feb. 25, people across Quebec who are 85 and older (born in or before 1936) can begin the process to book an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccine online or by calling 1-877-644-4545.
The provincial government has made an exception that allows someone who is 70 years of age or older and supports someone over the age of 85 three or more days a week to get a vaccine at the same time.
Since December, Quebec has focused its vaccinations to date on long-term care homes in the province.
Officials in B.C. are beginning the second phase of their COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead of the B.C. immunization rollout team, said at this point everyone in the province should be able to access the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July. The province plans to vaccinate 400,000 in March and April.
Between March 1 and March 15, the following groups can receive a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.:
High-risk individuals living in various congregate settings
Health care workers - hospital and community
High-risk seniors living in independent living (staff included)
High-risk seniors supportive housing client
Long-term home support clients and staff
Between March 15 and April 11, the general population 80 and older and Indigenous peoples 65 and older will be vaccinated, with the call-in system launching March 8 to book appointments March 15 and later.
Individuals 80 and older will be separated into three subgroups to help manage call volumes:
March 8: Call centre open to British Columbians born in or before 1931 and Indigenous peoples born in or before 1956, with vaccinations staring on March 15
March 15: Call centre open to British Columbians born in or before 1936, with vaccinations starting on March 22
March 22: Call centre open to British Columbians born in or before 1941, with vaccinations starting on March 29
People born between 1942 and 1946, as well as Indigenous peoples born between the years of 1956 and 1960, will be able to register for a vaccination appointment online or by phone by March 31.
People living independently in all communities of Saskatchewan who are 70 and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine but they do not book an appointment themselves, they will receive information on appointments in their area via phone call. Saskatchewan Health Authority is using a contact lists from eHealth to determine who is eligible.
A tweet from the Saskatchewan Health Authority states that although individuals 70 years and older are in the current phase of the province's vaccination plan, "no clinic is able to get enough vaccine to immunize all phase one eligible residents in a specific area at a single clinic."
Individuals over the age of 50 living in remote communities can also get a COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to healthcare workers, and staff and residents in long-term care facilities.
The Nova Scotia government has announced that it will be expanding its vaccine rollout in March with 10 community-based clinics for Nova Scotians 80 years old and older.
Appointments can be booked online or by calling 1-833-797-7772 the week before the clinic opens.
Clinics will open on the following dates:
March 8: Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro
March 15: Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth
March 22: Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth
New Brunswick is currently in the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccine administration plan, which includes healthcare and long-term care staff, and long-term care residents.
Adults 16 and older in First Nations communities are also part of this stage, expected to begin the vaccination process in early March.
Other New Brunswick residents who are 85 and older are should receive information on how to register for an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in mid-March.
Prince Edward Island
Individuals 80 years of age and older in Prince Edward Island can make an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine online or by calling 1-844-975-3303.
Other groups that are in this initial stage of the vaccination process, until the end of March, include residents and staff in long-term care settings, healthcare workers with direct patient contact, adults living in Indigenous communities, residents and staff in congregate living settings, and truck drivers.
Younger age groups are expected to enter the vaccination plan in April.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Pre-registration for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment has begun for people 70 years of age and older in Newfoundland and Labrador. Individuals can register online or they can call 1-833-668-3930.
The order determined by provincial officials for pre-registration is in alphabetical order by last name:
From Feb. 26 to Feb. 28 people 70 years of age and older with last names starting with A to F can pre-register
March 1 to March 3 people 70 years of age and older with last names starting with G to L can pre-register
From March 4 to March 6 people 70 years of age and older with last names starting with M to Z can pre-register
This pre-registration procedure allows each person to identify how they want to be contacted by their regional health authority once a vaccine appointment is available.
The initial phase of Newfoundland and Labrador's vaccination plan targets people in congregate living settings, healthcare workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, adults in remote communities and individuals 85 years old and older.
Phase two of the province's plan, expected to be vaccinated between April to June, will include adults 60 years of age and older (starting with those 80 years and older), adults who identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis, first responders, people ages 16 to 59 who are "clinically extremely vulnerable," frontline essential workers who have direct contact with the public, adults in marginalized populations, and staff, residents, and essential visitors at congregate living settings.
The final phase, expected to occur between July and September, should see vaccines available to the rest of the population.