COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands to 18+ in Ontario

By News staff

Anyone aged 18 and over is officially eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the province’s online booking portal.

Those who are turning 18 this year will be able to book their appointments for the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine authorized by Health Canada for use in youth aged 12 and over.

Appointments can also be made via the provincial call centre at 1-833-943-3900 or through public health units that use their own booking system.

Peel Region is also allowing anyone 16+ at the time of their appointment who lives, works or attends school in the area to book an appointment using their booking system.

Halton Region, which also uses their own booking system, had announced last week they will allow those 18 and older to begin booking on May 19. Despite the province’s announcement, the region will keep May 19 as the day residents 18 years of age and older are eligible.

The government had initially said it would lower the vaccine eligibility age to 30 this week and all adults as of next week.

The province said the expansion comes a week ahead of schedule due to “an early delivery of the week of May 24 shipment.”

The federal government expects around 4.5 million doses to arrive this week from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The mayors and chairs of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GHTA) say they welcome the news and are requesting additional vaccine supply to keep up with the increased demand that will follow expanded eligibility.

The province is also switching gears in how it distributes vaccines. It will now send the shots to regions on a per-capita basis, after two weeks of sending half the vaccine supply to COVID-19 hot spots.

Provincial health officials said those aged 12-17 will be eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccine on May 31, and will hold dedicated youth vaccine clinics during the weeks of June 14 and 21.

Earlier this month, the Ontario expanded vaccine eligibility to those 18 and over who live in one of the 114 hot spots.

The province said it hopes to see all eligible Ontarians fully vaccinated by the end of September.

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, the province administered more than 7.1 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and so far, 432,000 Ontarians have been fully vaccinated.

More than 55 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over have received one dose of the vaccine.

With files from The Canadian Press

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