With Phase One of the Province’s vaccine implementation plan already underway, the Government of Ontario is preparing for Phase Two, wherein it plans to immunize 8.5 million people.
The Province is aiming to begin vaccinating the next groups who will be eligible to receive the vaccine, as recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and aligned with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, as early as March 2021.
“With Phase One of our plan well underway, we’re getting ready to expand our vaccine rollout and get more needles into arms as soon as the supply is available,” Premier Doug Ford said in a news release.
“We now have a well-oiled machine, led by General Hillier, and we are making tremendous progress. We know this second phase will be an even larger logistical undertaking than the first. That’s why we’re ramping up our capacity on the ground to ensure these vaccines are administered quickly, beginning with the people who need them most,” he continued.
Additionally, in order to vaccinate residents as quickly and safely as possible, the Province is expanding the list of health care providers who can administer COVID-19 vaccines.
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Phase One of the vaccine implementation plan is intended to vaccinate 1.5 million Ontarians, many of whom are residents, staff, and essential caregivers of long-term care facilities.
Further, the Province intends to have the first dose administered in all long-term care facilities no later than February 15, 2021.
Among those who will be eligible for the vaccine as part of Phase Two are older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout; those living and working in high-risk congregate settings; frontline essential workers, including teachers, first responders, essential retail employees, etc.; and those with high-risk chronic conditions as well as their caregivers.
Phase Two is expected to be completed by July, after which time Phase Three, wherein the general population will be able to access the vaccine, could begin as early as August 2021.
“We are prepared for the next phase in our vaccine distribution plan, but with limited supplies, our focus will be on vaccinating our seniors and frontline essential workers,” Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, said in the same release.
“When Ontario receives sufficient doses of vaccines, we will ensure that every person who wants to be vaccinated will receive it. Until then, everyone must continue to follow the public health guidelines and stay home, stay safe and save lives,” she continued.