Ontario is aiming to offer first COVID-19 vaccine doses to all eligible residents by June 20, the province said Friday as it laid out more specific plans for the next priority groups in the rollout.
Officials, who made the announcement after Health Canada approved a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, said the rollout could move faster based on supply.
“We’ve had a seismic shift in our vaccination opportunities and the program to roll it out,” said retired general Rick Hillier, the head of the province’s vaccine task force.
He said the recent approval of two more vaccines, expected increases in supply and the extension of the interval between first and second doses will allow the province to “crush those timelines really tightly.”
“… our aim would be to allow the province of Ontario to have a first needle in the arm of every eligible person who wants it by the first day of summer,” Hillier said. “Please be patient a little while longer.”
The province says 113 mass vaccination clinics will start operating this month, with maximum capacity of four million doses per day across public health units, though officials administration will vary based on supply and local considerations.
Phase 2 of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan will begin in April and will see people aged 60 to 79 begin receiving their first shots, along with those living in high-risk congregate settings like shelters.
Shots will go to seniors 75 and older first, with a goal of offering first shots to everyone 60 and older by the end of May.
People with high-risk chronic health conditions and their caregivers, as well as people who can’t work from home, will also be part of the province’s expanded vaccine plans.
Phase 2 is expected to begin in April through to July, but the timeline remains dependent on vaccine supply and availability.
During Phase 2, people will be able to receive their shots in more places, including pharmacies and doctor’s offices. Mass immunization clinics are expected to account for 80 per cent of all vaccinations in the province.
The province is set to receive just under 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines by April 12.
The province has outlined eligible health conditions that would put at person in a high-risk category.
Organ transplant recipients, and people with diabetes, dementia, cancer and heart disease are among the groups who will be targeted for Phase 2 vaccinations.
There will also be 13 health units given an additional 920,000 doses to distribute amongst areas with higher death rates, hospitalizations and transmission. Toronto, Peel, Durham, Halton and York are among those health units.
You can read the province’s full Phase 2 rollout plan below: