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Ontario updates vaccination priorities, making preparations for Phase 2

Last Updated Feb 19, 2021 at 3:29 pm EDT

Ontario has provided an update on its vaccination rollout as the province prepares to enter Phase 2 of their plan.

As of Friday, a total of 217,715 people have been fully vaccinated in the province, including over 44,000 people in long-term care homes.

The province is now prioritizing staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes who have not yet received their first does.

High-priority health care workers, and alternative level of care patients in hospital who have a confirmed admission to a long-term are or retirement home are also set to receive their first dose.

The next priority groups will be adults 80 and over, staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes, health care workers in the high priority level, all Indigenous adults, and adult recipients of chronic home care.

Phase 2 is expected to begin in April with older adults decreasing in five year age increments starting 80, and frontline workers such as teachers and first responders, getting vaccinated.

All public health units have developed plans for at least one mass immunization clinic in their area when vaccine supply is sufficient.

Ontario is expected to receive 865,800 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech by the end of March. In the next shipment of Moderna vaccines, the province is expecting 47,400 doses.

The province is also developing an online booking system to support the next phase that will include vaccination pre-registration and appointment booking. The system was piloted during Toronto’s proof-of-concept mass immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

A customer service desk will also be made available for those who can’t book online.

CityNews has learned the province is planning on calling the website where Ontarians can book their vaccination appointments the “COVax ON Patient Portal.”

When asked about the name during Friday’s press conference, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones did not confirm the name or comment on when it would be release to the public.