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The Ontario government announced that 8.5 million people will be vaccinated before the end of Phase Two in the province’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, expected to begin in March.
Groups eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccines in phase two include:
Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout
Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate settings
Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, teachers, food processing industry)
Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers
This second phase is expected to be completed by the end of July. The province anticipates the phase that will follow, set to begin in August, will include the general population.
In the coming months, Ontario plans to add more vaccination sites, including hospitals, mobile vaccination locations, pharmacies, clinics, primary care settings and community health centres.
Toronto will be the first municipality to run a vaccination site, opening on Jan. 18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. At the outset, vaccines will be administered to the priority populations in the first phase of the vaccine rollout, which is targeted to healthcare workers and seniors in long-term care facilities.
To date, more than 144,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been administered to healthcare workers in Ontario and residents in long-term care homes.
Retired general Rick Hillier, chair of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, said that by Feb. 15, all residents, staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes should receive their first dose.
The vaccination of all staff and residents in long-term care facilities in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor Essex is expected to be completed by Jan. 21.