Black and racialized populations in Ontario can get a COVID-19 vaccine during Phase 2

Mar 17 2021, 7:16 am

Ontario has updated its COVID-19 vaccination plan to include Black and racialized populations in Phase 2 ahead of general population immunization.

The provincial government added “Black and other racialized populations” to its list of groups eligible for a vaccine in Phase 2, along with people who are members of communities that have been historical hot spots for infection.

black and racialized vaccinations

Government of Ontario

This comes as the province makes efforts to distribute vaccines equitably.

The City of Toronto requested the province collect sociodemographic data from people getting vaccinated so health authorities could analyze if it’s being distributed fairly in a March 8 report.

The province’s website now says it will be asking people who get a shot for information about their income, ethnicity, language, and household size. Submitting information will be completely optional and will be anonymous to protect privacy.

Who else is being vaccinated in Phase 2?

Phase 2 is set to start in April when the province opens vaccinations to those under 80 and in certain high-risk groups.

Ontario’s government expects Phase 2 to take until July. The remaining population will receive the vaccine in Phase 3, which starts in August.

Descending by age

Government of Ontario

Phase 2 eligibility will start with adults aged 75 or over and proceed in descending increments of five years.  The AstraZeneca vaccine, which was recently approved for use on senior populations in Canada, may be eligible earlier for adults 64 and under.

People who live or work in congregate settings 

Living or working in a communal setting makes it hard to self-isolate or quarantine. People admitted in this category include:

  • Prisoners
  • Farmworkers (including temporary foreign workers)
  • Schools for children with disabilities
  • Indigenous healing and wellness facilities
  • Children’s residential facilities
  • Violence against women shelters and anti-human trafficking residents
  • Homes for specialized care
  • People who live in congregate settings for mental health and addiction
  • Homeless individuals
  • Homeless shelters
  • Supportive housing
  • Developmental services and supportive living

Essential and frontline workers who can’t work from home 

  • School staff
  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • Funeral home staff
  • Agricultural workers
  • Food processing plant workers
  • Retail workers in grocery stores and pharmacies
  • Other manufacturing workers
  • Social workers
  • Court and justice workers
  • All other retail workers
  • Workers in transportation, warehousing, and distribution
  • Energy, telecom, water, and waste management workers
  • Financial services
  • Oil and gas workers

Government of Ontario

People with high-risk chronic conditions

Highest risk:

  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • People with neurological diseases
  • Hematological malignancy diagnosed within the last year
  • Kidney disease with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) under 30

High risk: 

  • Obesity (BMI over 40)
  • Other treatments causing immunosuppression such as chemotherapy
  • People with intellectual or developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome

At risk:

  • Immune deficiencies and autoimmune disorders
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Spleen problems
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension with end-organ damage
  • Diagnose mental disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Pregnancy
  • Other disabilities or health conditions, including rare diseases

Caregivers for people with some of these conditions will also be eligible for vaccination at this stage.

Communities at greater risk 

  • Black and racialized populations
  • People in hot spots with historic and ongoing high rates of death, hospitalization, and transmission.

Following Phase 2, the province’s next phase is set to start in July.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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