Ontario Unveils More Details on How People in COVID-19 Hot Spots Can Access the Vaccine

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The Ontario administration has announced additional details on how individuals ineligible groups and COVID-19 hot spots can access their vaccine.

On Tuesday, during a technical briefing, officials stated that over 3.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Ontario; however, only an estimated 335,000 residents are fully vaccinated with both shots.

Despite the province having the capacity to dispense 150,000 doses daily, officials cautioned that “lack of visibility of vaccine volumes in May” and shipment delays could possibly impact the rollout progress. Officials state especially that late shipments of the Moderna vaccine have a “significant impact on the continuity of clinic operations.”

Simultaneously, officials claim that they don’t believe the Moderna delays will affect the timeline for Phase 2 rollout of the vaccine.

The administration’s updated COVID-19 vaccine Phase 2 timeline, which was revised as of April 9, indicates that COVID-19 hot spots are being sectioned further into two groupings— the highest-risk groups and remaining hot spot areas.

Those residing in the highest-risk areas in Toronto and Peel Region are programmed to get their vaccine in April, and the remaining neighborhoods will be vaccinated around May. The officials added that the local public health units have the capacity to identify specific communities and neighborhoods that should be given precedence.

Officials note that the hot spot areas were recognized based on high rates of COVID-19 cases and outbreak data. The administration also gave more information on how specific groups of people and those residing or working in COVID-19 hotspots would access a vaccine.
Adults 60 years of age and under with the highest health risks

Who is included?

Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients, Organ transplant recipients, neurological diseases, kidney disease, and hematological malignancy diagnosed for over a year. A vital caregiver for an individual with one of these conditions is also eligible for the vaccine.
Officials state the timing for this group is “underway.”

How do you know if you qualify?

Local physicians and hospitals will communicate with eligible patients and give them a letter they can present at their appointments. Officials claim that eligible people will “shortly” have the chance to book appointments through the provincial system.

Where to go?

Patients will access the vaccine at hospital clinics or on-site, where they obtain regular treatment. If not, they can access the vaccine at a vaccination clinic, at a primary care location, or the pharmacy.

Adults 50 years of age or older in COVID-19 hot spots

Who is included?

Any individual aged 50 and above living in a hot spot neighborhood identified by the province by postal code.

How do you book an appointment?

The specified Individuals can book an appointment at a public immunization clinic via the provincial booking system or through a local public health unit in an area not using the province’s system.

Adults 18+ living in targeted high-risk neighborhoods

Who is included?

All adults in the above-mentioned postal code priority hot spots.

How do you book an appointment?

These individuals will not access a vaccine at a public immunization clinic. Rather, they can go to a mobile or pop-up clinic in their neighborhood. These facilities will be “hosted” by community organizations. Officials claim that residents should confer with their local PHUs for more details.

Employees who work in high-risk environments

The government is partnering with local public health units, hospitals, and employers to survey the viability of onsite workplace vaccination clinics in hot spots.

Employers whose workplace is in close proximity to a hot spot and has had a previous outbreak or is at risk of an outbreak would be eligible. Nonetheless, the province states that the employer must take on the duty of setting up, managing, and funding an onsite vaccination clinic. The vaccination clinic must additionally provide vaccines to the local community.

Those interested can ask about creating an onsite clinic by emailing covid19vaccinetaskforce@ontario.ca.
Education workers supporting students with special needs.

Who is included?

School boards will pick out eligible employees and present a letter as proof of identity.

How do I book an appointment?

From April 12, special education workers can book a vaccine at a public immunization clinic through the provincial system. PHUs not using the provincial booking system will make arrangements with school boards.

Education workers in select hot spot communities

Who is included?

Education staff who work but do not reside in a COVID-19 hot spot can acquire a letter confirming their employment to be used as proof of identity.

How do you book an appointment?

These people can book an appointment using the provincial booking system and get vaccinated at a mass immunization clinic as of April 12.

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