'We have been on fire:' all adults in Peel Region eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of tomorrow
Published Wednesday, May 5, 2021 3:45PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 5, 2021 5:05PM EDT
Every adult in Peel Region will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of tomorrow morning.
Most Peel residents were already eligible to book appointments because of the high number of hot spot neighbourhoods in the region.
But during a press conference on Wednesday, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie revealed that eligibility will now be expanded to the two Mississauga neighbourhoods and the one Caledon neighbourhood that were not previously included in the province’s list of 114 hot spot postal codes.
That means that about 50,000 Peel residents who were not previously eligible will be able to book an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of 8 a.m. tomorrow.
“The reality is that we couldn't wait any longer to make that vaccine available to every adult in Peel. Peel Region has been a hotspot for a very long time. In fact, we've been on fire,” Crombie said. “We are home to 10 per cent of Ontario’s population but account for 20 per cent of all cases. We are also home to the largest number of essential workers, living in every single corner of this region.”
Peel Region has the largest number of cases in Ontario per capita and in recent weeks its hospitals have come under immense pressure due to an influx of COVID patients.
About 15,000 residents are now being vaccinated in Peel Region each day but Crombie said that she is calling on the province to up the supply and to commit to providing hot spots like Peel with 50 per cent of all doses going forward and not just for the next two weeks, as is currently the plan.
“COVID-19 has not affected regions equally and returning to a per capita distribution of vaccine is insufficient for us. It is neither fair, nor is it ethical,” she said. “I want everyone outside of a hot spot to understand that we're holding the rest of you up. We're holding up the province right now from getting their lives back to normal. The faster everyone in hot spots is vaccinated, the faster the rest of the province can return to the new normal.”
Toronto to open up 60,000 more appointments
The move to expand eligibility in Peel to every adult comes amid a provincial push to provide at least one dose to 65 per cent of Ontarians above the age of 18 by the end of May.
The push will see younger and younger age cohorts become eligible to receive a vaccine in the coming weeks, though appointment availability could eventually become an issue.
During a briefing at Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, officials revealed that more than 95 per cent of the thousands of appointments available at the city’s mass immunization clinics are now booked up for the better part of the next month.
The city says that it will open up 60,000 additional appointments for the week of June 7 tomorrow morning as eligibility widens to include residents 50 and up and some frontline workers.
“We are making every single appointment available that we can, in accordance with the vaccine that's being provided,” Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who is leading the city’s vaccine task force, told reporters. “If as time moves on additional vaccine ends up being made available to us in the City of Toronto we are immediately ready to expand our clinic operations as are our hospital partners,” he said.
Approximately 223,000 people have booked appointments at city-run vaccination clinics in Toronto since eligibility was expanded to include all adults in hot spot postal codes on Monday morning.
Pegg said that the number of appointments left at city-run clinics is now “in the tens” through the end of May, which could mean that some people might have to wait a little longer to get a chance to roll up their sleeves even as the province aggressively widens eligibility.
Appointments at all city-run clinics are already 99 per cent booked for this week and 93 per cent booked for next week.
“We are opening every single appointment that is available on a one to one basis with the amount of vaccine we have to administer. So there really is no other secret formula, other than having more vaccine that can be made available and in the event and in the time when more and more vaccine is made available we have capacity in our clinic system to do more every day and every week,” Pegg said.
The City of Toronto plans to begin administering second doses of the vacccine at its clinics beginning the week of July 7.