Teachers, some residents aged 18+ to be vaccinated in Toronto, Peel’s hotspot neighbourhoods

Some education workers in Toronto and Peel can get vaccinated as early as next week. But experts tell Adrian Ghobrial there must be further measures to keep schools safe. Plus, the Minister of Education on re-opening schools after April break.

By News Staff and The Canadian Press

Teachers who live or work in Toronto and Peel Region’s high-risk neighbourhoods will be eligible to be receive the COVID-19 vaccination during the April break, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

Both Toronto and Peel closed schools this week until April 19 due to a spike in COVID-19 outbreaks.

Education workers who provide direct daily support to students with special education needs across the province will also be eligible for the vaccine.

This initiative will be expanded to York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham when vaccine supply increases.

“We continue to work in partnership with Ministry of Health to get these vaccines into the arms as many staff as possible,” Lecce said.

“I just want to assure every worker in the province in our schools, driving our buses and helping to protect our kids: You are going to get access to the vaccine, full stop.”

He said how people will be able to book appointments was still being worked out.

Lecce also announced additional safety measures including mandatory cleaning of schools during the spring break, offering asymptomatic COVID-19 tests at assessment centres from April 12 to 18, refresher training on safety protocols, broadening mandatory screening requirements before entering schools and encouraging outdoor education.

The province will also be organizing mobile vaccination teams and pop-up clinics to administer vaccines in hot spot neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel Region.

These will get COVID-19 vaccines to individuals aged 18 and older in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers.

Regions will be selected based on patterns of transmission, severe illness and mortality from COVID-19.

Ontario announced a provincewide stay-at-home order starting Thursday that will force most non-essential retailers to close.

Premier Doug Ford says if there is a vaccine supply, 40 per cent of Ontarian adults could be vaccinated by the end of the stay-at-home order.



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