Ontario is set to launch its online COVID-19 vaccine registration on March 15, but it’s only for those 80 years and older.
During a press conference on Wednesday, General Rick Hillier, who heads the vaccine distribution task force in the province, said that online registration and a customer desk call centre would be ready to receive bookings for the vaccine on March 15. However, it will only be for those 80 years and older or family members assisting a relative in that age bracket.
Hillier said that if you’re not 80 or older or acting for someone of that age, you will not be able to book an appointment.
In addition, during phase two of the rollout, which begins the first week of March, pharmacies will begin distributing vaccines.
Hillier said that the online system would be able to show users which vaccination site is closest to their location.
When asked why the online booking portal will only be ready in mid-March, Hillier said the populations that will be vaccinated over the next four or five weeks do not need the online booking system.
He noted that the province is going to long-term care homes and hospitals to vaccinate healthcare professionals dealing with COVID-19 patients and First Nations communities.
“It is not until at least the third week of March that we’re heading into a category where we need bookings at mass vaccination clinics or pharmacies,” Hillier said.
By March 15, 80-year-olds and older can book an appointment to be vaccinated, which is around 600,000 people, followed by 75-year-olds in April, 70-year-olds in May, and 65-year-olds in June.
Hillier did not provide a specific date when asked for a timeline on when those 65 years old and younger can be vaccinated. He added that while they want the general population to have access to the vaccine by Labour Day, it is dependent on the supply, which is controlled by the federal government.
Although, Hillier said that the federal government emphasized that vaccine supply is now stable. The largest Pfizer shipment was delivered to Canada this week with 475,000 doses.
The province is currently vaccinating around 16,000 to 18,000 people a day.
To date, 602,848 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have been distributed in Ontario, with 251,590 fully vaccinated with both doses.