The Ontario government is preparing to immunize up to 8.5 million people before the end of summer, according to their vaccine implementation plan.
Phase One of the plan began Dec. 15, and it includes limited doses of the vaccine that are being made available for:
- health care workers in hospitals,
- long-term care homes and retirement homes,
- other congregate care settings and
- remote Indigenous communities.
Phase Two is expected to start this winter with groups to be identified by March, as the province works to include:
- Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout;
- Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate settings;
- Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, teachers, food processing industry); and
- Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.
Queen's Park hopes Phase Two will be completed by the end of July.
Phase Three for the general population could begin as early as August, pending availability of vaccines.
In order to vaccinate Ontarians as safely and quickly as possible, the government is expanding the list of health care providers, who can administer COVID-19 vaccines.
"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," said Premier Doug Ford earlier today, as part of the media briefing.
"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," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health in a media release following today's briefing.
"Despite the difficult times we find ourselves in, this proves that there is light at the end of the tunnel and, with that in mind, I'm asking everyone to stay strong, stay safe and follow the public health guidelines," said retired general Rick Hillier, who is the chair of the province's COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force.
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