Ontario expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those 18+ a week ahead of schedule
TORONTO -- Starting tomorrow, all Ontario residents over the age of 18 will be able to book a COVID-19 vaccine, a week ahead of the province’s initial rollout schedule.
The government said the decision to widen eligibility was based on an increase in vaccine supply.
“With 2.2 million doses scheduled to arrive this week, the government is extending booking eligibility at mass immunization clinics to individuals aged 18 and over,” the province said in a in a news release issued Monday.
Bookings open at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday and are accessible to anyone 18 years of age and over, including 17-year-old residents who will turn 18 in 2021.
Before today’s announcement, residents 18+ were able to book their jab, but only if they lived in one of the province’s designated 114 hot spot communities.
While Toronto Mayor John Tory welcomed today’s announcement, he said the availability of vaccines in the city-run immunization clinics “will likely not match” the number of those seeking to get a shot.
“As they [the government] increase demand, we’re simply saying would they please also, in parallel, consider that as they increase demand, if they don’t increase supply we’re not able to accommodate people and appointments,” Tory said.
In response, Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters at Queen’s Park Monday that Toronto will be receiving a “large number” of vaccines, but did not provide the actual figure.
“And if they run through them, we will be able to supply them with more because we want to make sure that everybody who wants a vaccine will be able to receive one,” she said.
According to the government, more than 7 million needles have gone into arms throughout the course of the vaccine campaign.
Some 432,000 people have received two doses and are considered by the Ministry of Health to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Sunnybrook offering vaccine appointments to teenagers 12+
The province says it will also open eligibility up to children ages 12 to 17 for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by May 31. However, Sunnybrook Hospital doesn’t appear to be waiting for that deadline.
As of Monday, the hospital said it will begin booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments for youth in that age group with serious health conditions.
A list of those health conditions can be found on Sunnybrook’s website. The list includes individuals with cancer, heart or respiratory disease, or diabetes.
Ontario is currently in the second phase of it's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which focused on older adults, people in high-risk settings, frontline essential workers and other populations that are at greater risk of illness.
Phase 3 is set to begin in July and will see needles go into the arms of anyone who wants to be immunized.