The Government of Ontario said that all staff and residents in long-term care homes in COVID-19 hotspots will be vaccinated by next week.
On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford, Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, provided an update on the vaccine rollout.
The vaccination of all staff and residents in long-term care homes in four areas with the highest rates of transmission – Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor Essex – is expected to be completed by January 21.
According to the province, Phase One of the vaccine implementation program is expected to see approximately 1.5 million eligible people vaccinated, with the goal of having the first dose administered in all homes no later than February 15.
“With Phase One of our plan well underway, we’re getting ready to expand our vaccine rollout and get more needles into arms as soon as the supply is available,” said Ford in a statement.
“We now have a well-oiled machine, led by General Hillier, and we are making tremendous progress. We know this second phase will be an even larger logistical undertaking than the first. That’s why we’re ramping up our capacity on the ground to ensure these vaccines are administered quickly, beginning with the people who need them most.”
Phase Two of the rollout program will begin in March with the eligible groups being:
- Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout;
- Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate settings;
- Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, teachers, food processing industry); and
- Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.
This phase is expected to be done by July, and Phase Three for the general population could begin as early as August, pending availability of vaccines.
The province is hoping to vaccinate 8.5 million people by the end of Phase Two.
Over the coming months, more vaccination sites will become available, including municipally run sites, hospital sites, mobile vaccination sites, pharmacies, clinics, primary care settings and community locations such as community health centres and aboriginal health access centres.
The first municipally run vaccination site will be opening on January 18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.