Ontario expands eligibility for second doses, promises new rules coming 'very shortly' for vaccinated people
TORONTO -- Ontario is expanding eligibility for second COVID-19 vaccine doses as the province promises new guidelines will come "very shortly" outlining what freedoms vaccinated people will have.
As of June 23, the province will add Hamilton, Simcoe-Muskoka, and Durham Region to the Delta variant hot spot list, which means adult residents in those areas will become eligible to book their second vaccine if they had their first shot on or before May 30.
Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, and York Region had already been declared Delta variant hot spots by the province. People in those seven regions who had their first shot before May 30 will also become eligible to book their second dose.
Starting Monday, all adults in Ontario who received either Pfizer or Moderna as their first dose before May 10 will be eligible to book their second shot.
The province said everyone else in Ontario who got a first shot on or after May 10 – except for people between 12 and 17 – will be eligible to book their second dose starting June 28.
Bookings for second doses for youth between the age of 12 and 17 is expected to begin between after Aug 9.
The new dose interval could now be as short as 28 days, officials say.
Those who had Moderna or Pfizer for their first dose can now have either for their second dose, while people who had AstraZeneca for their first dose can either have the same, or opt for Moderna or Pfizer.
To date, 75 per cent of Ontarians have received their first dose, while 19 per cent have had both doses. That means nearly 12 million people have received one dose, while 2.3 million have had both.
In order to move to Step 2, the province needs to hit 20 per cent of people who received both doses.
Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday he will meet with the province's top doctor to make a decision about whether Ontario can make an earlier move to Step 2.
Ford made the comment after being asked about the province's success in dramatically lowering the number of daily COVID-19 cases.
"I'll be sitting down with the health table and Dr. Williams, and we'll make that decision," Ford said about potentially moving into Step 2 early. "But no one in this province wants to open up quicker than I do."
People with one vaccine dose are believed to be less protected against the Delta variant, which is also considered far more transmissible than other strains.
GUIDELINES COMING FOR VACCINATED PEOPLE
Health Minister Christine Elliott promised on Thursday that guidance will be coming soon on what Ontarians can do after they are vaccinated.
"We will be releasing guidance very shortly because I know that people are wondering if they had both vaccines, should they be able to go about their usual business? Do they need to wear a mask?" Elliott said.
"We are going to be releasing guidelines for each of the three steps about what people should continue to do .. Because I know people want to follow the rules."
Ontario's current three-step reopening plan does not include any details about what restrictions can be eased for people who are fully immunized.