Ontario moves up second doses for many residents in Delta hot spot regions
Published Thursday, June 10, 2021 8:03AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 10, 2021 2:12PM EDT
Starting on Monday, residents in seven hot spot regions, including Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, who received their first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose on or before May 9 can book their second dose, a month ahead of schedule.
On Thursday, provincial health officials provided an update on Ontario’s second-dose strategy with an accelerated “first-in, first-out” plan to get Ontarians fully vaccinated by the end of summer thanks to an increase in supply coming into the province.
As of Monday at 8 a.m., residents in areas with a high prevalence of the Delta variant and who also received their first shot of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna) between April 19 and May 9 can book their second shot.
“I know many Ontarians are excited to enjoy the warm weather and see families and friends. This is an exciting time and we know that there are brighter days ahead,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said at a news conference on Thursday.
Areas with high Delta prevalence include Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, Halton Region, Porcupine, Waterloo and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph. This means residents in these regions who received their first shot on or before May 9 are eligible to book their second shot as of June 14.
The May 9 deadline aligns with the government’s mRNA dose interval of as little as four weeks, which was shortened from four months last month.
The government previously outlined 114 hot spot areas by postal codes in the province but are now focusing on individual public health units in the accelerated rollout announced today.
The plan allows eligible residents to book their second dose weeks ahead of the initial target of July 19 and continues the government’s initial goal of ensuring that those who were prioritized for the first shot are also prioritized for the second.
Ontarians who live outside of these Delta areas of concern are not yet eligible to book their second shot.
“We will continue to expand eligibility for accelerated second doses as additional vaccine allocations are confirmed by the federal government as Ontario begins to reopen,” Elliott said.
Eligible individuals will be able to book their second dose on either the province’s booking site, through public health units that use their own booking site or through participating pharmacies.
For those who re-book their second shot on the government’s booking site, their first appointment will automatically be cancelled.
The government also announced today that beginning the week of June 20 it will implement workplace mobile strategies in Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region. During the same time, employer-led clinics in Peel will also start administering second doses in hot spot neighbourhoods.
The updated second-dose strategy comes after the government expanded booking eligibility last week to more groups weeks ahead of schedule.
As of Monday, individuals 70 years and older, as well as anyone who had a first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before April 18, were allowed to book an earlier appointment for their second shot.
Residents 80 and up became eligible to book an earlier second dose on May 28.
ASTRAZENECA RECIPIENTS MUST WAIT 12 WEEKS TO TAKE SECOND DOSE
Earlier this month, the government announced that individuals who took the AstraZeneca vaccine can get a second dose of either the same vaccine or an mRNA vaccine after the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations approved mixing doses last month.
However, unlike those who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine and can take their second dose 28 days later, AstraZeneca recipients must continue to wait 12 weeks before getting their second dose.
“We want to make sure that we can protect all of the people of the province of Ontario and the evidence to date suggests that the 12-week period is the best interval in between the first and second doses,” Elliott said.
Those who received AstraZeneca can now book a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine at participating pharmacies and on the provincial booking site.
4.7 MILLION DOSES COMING TO ONTARIO IN JUNE
Ontario still expects to receive 4.7 million doses of vaccine this month.
Every week in June, the province is slated to receive more than 900,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The province also expects to receive more than 800,000 doses of Pfizer weekly in July.
This week the province is receiving 37,300 doses of Moderna and expects to collect over two million more doses by the end of the month after the federal government recently announced it will be receiving seven million doses of the vaccine.
The provincial government said it is not sure how many doses of AstraZeneca it will receive this month.
Elliott said the government will provide the Delta areas of concern with more doses once they are needed, but did not specify how much and when.
“We are asking the areas in those seven units that are the Delta concern areas to use what they have in their freezers first and then we will happily supply them with additional supplies so that they can continue to work on their first doses as well as their second doses,” she said.
To date, more than 1.3 million people have been fully vaccinated in Ontario since mid-December.