Premier Doug Ford announced that over 300 Ontario pharmacies will open this week to administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for those eligible.
On Wednesday, Ford said that as the vaccine supply increases, the Ontario government is expanding the delivery to administer COVID-19 vaccines to include pharmacies and primary care settings.
As of Friday, March 12, more than 325 pharmacies will be offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to eligible Ontarians aged 60-64, by appointment only, “as part of the vaccine delivery pilot program in specific regions.”
“We are about to achieve a major milestone in our battle against COVID-19, by the end of the day we expect to reach the one million mark for doses administered and continue to lead the country in vaccinations completed,” said Ford in a statement.
“But we are just ramping up and mobilizing even more members of Team Ontario in our pharmacies and primary care settings. We have a plan to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible in order to keep people safe and we will do that as long as we have a steady supply from the federal government.”
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There are 194,500 doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine expected, allowing select pharmacies to begin booking appointments starting Wednesday in three public health unit regions: Toronto, Windsor-Essex and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.
According to the province, the vaccine rollout will be expanded to more pharmacies in other regions of the province as supply increases.
Eligible adults aged 60 to 64 — defined by year of birth between 1957-1961 — who are interested in booking an appointment, can visit the Ontario site to find a participating pharmacy and can contact the pharmacy to make an appointment.
In addition, the provincial government is also working with primary care professionals to offer vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations, such as physician offices, in collaboration with public health units.
This initiative will begin in Hamilton, Toronto, Guelph, Peterborough, Simcoe-Muskoka, and Peel as of Saturday, March 13.
“Primary care providers will not be taking appointments by request but will be contacting eligible Ontarians aged 60-64 directly to book an appointment starting today, March 10, 2021. They will only be offering the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine at this time,” the release says.
The Ontario government is preparing to move into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, with a focus on vaccinating populations based on age and risk.
Over 120 mass immunization clinics are planned to open this month across Ontario, increasing the province’s vaccine administration capacity to over 150,000 doses per day, dependent on supply.