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Eligibility for online booking is expanding to the second group of essential workers and people 40+
May 11, 2021: This post was updated to reflect the booking eligibility expanding to the second group of essential workers and people with at-risk conditions on May 11, and the age lowering to 40 for mass immunization sites on May 13
Ontario is lowering the eligibility age to book COVID-19 vaccines at mass immunization sites to people aged 40 and up this week.
On May 11 at 8 am, people with at-risk health conditions such as dementia, diabetes and sickle cell disease, and people who can’t work from home, such as grocery store and restaurant workers, will be eligible to book appointments using the provincial system.
Then, on May 13 at 8 am, eligibility will expand again to people turning 40 and over in 2021 in non-hot spot communities. Eligible people can book via the provincial booking system, or directly through public health units that use their own booking system.
“With a stable and predictable supply of vaccines, Ontario’s vaccine rollout continues to pick up speed, and we are on track to administer a first dose to 65 per cent of Ontario adults by the end of May,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement on Monday morning.
Additionally, high-risk health care workers, dialysis patients, and all First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals will be eligible later in the week of May 10 to book their second doses earlier than the recommended four month interval. Details on how those groups can book will be announced in the coming days, the province said.
Previous updates are below:
(Updated May 6, 2021): People age 18 and up living in hot spot communities will be able book vaccine appointments at mass immunization sites at 8 am on May 3, the government said in a statement.
In Toronto, the appointments can be booked through the provincial online booking system. Other areas take bookings through public health units using their own booking systems.
On May 6 at 8 am, eligibility to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a mass immunization site via the provincial system will expand to:
Priority groups who were only able to book through the provincial call centre will now also be able to book online, including people with the highest risk health conditions, child-care workers in licensed child-care settings and education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs.
Updated (April 30, 2021): All people over age 18 will be able to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment using the provincial system by May 24, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on April 29.
During a press briefing at Queen’s Park, Elliott laid out a timetable for when vaccine eligibility will expand as vaccine supply from Ottawa increases “dramatically” in May.
First, the province will increase the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to hot spot communities by over one million doses starting next week. Fifty per cent of supply will go to dedicated to hot spot communities on the weekends of May 3 and 10. Those shots will be delivered by mobile teams, pop-up clinics, mass immunization sites, hospital, primary care physicians and pharmacies.
Every adult living in 114 hot-spot postal codes will be eligible to book appointments by May 3.
“This targeted, time-limited approach is designed to reduce COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in our most at-risk communities,” Elliott said. “We will not be taking away vaccines from other public health regions. Their allocations will remain the same as previously planned and will increase later in May.”
As of April 30 at 8 am, the province is lowering the age of eligibility to book appointments via the provincial system to 55 and up, Ontario-wide.
In the week of May 3, the age will lower again to 50 and up. In the week of May 10, the age will lower to 40 and up and in the week of May 17 it will lower to age 30 and up. All adults over 18 will be eligible to book via the provincial system in the week of May 24.
Also on April 30, the province will launch a pilot project in hot spot areas that will see eight pharmacies in Toronto and Peel administer Pfizer vaccines to people age 55 and up. Each location will receive around 150 doses per week, the government said in a statement.
The province expects to expand Pfizer availability via pharmacies to additional public health units later in May. Pharmacies will continue using their own booking systems for these appointments. The age eligibility to get vaccinated at pharmacies will be 40 and up.
Updated (April 18, 2021): Starting on April 20, people age 40 and up are eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at pharmacies and primary care settings in Ontario.
The province has been under pressure to expand vaccination as COVID-19 variants surge in the province, sending intensive care unit admissions to record highs.
Ontario previously made AstraZeneca available only to adults aged 55 and older in line with advice from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). The advice came in response to reports of younger people experiencing rare blood clots. There have since been two cases of rare blood clots developing in patients who have received the shot in Canada, including on in Alberta.
“We continue to be actively engaged with Health Canada on updated AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safety,” provincial officials said in a news release. “Last week, based on the review of available data from Europe and United Kingdom, Health Canada announced that it was not restricting the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in any specific populations at this time.”
Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said provinces “are free to use AstraZeneca in any age population over 18 as per Health Canada’s license for use in Canada.”
“All COVID-19 vaccines available in Ontario have been shown to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. Adverse reactions are extremely rare,” Ontario officials said. “We strongly recommend that everyone book their appointment as soon as they are eligible.”
The former head of Ontario’s vaccination task force has said he hopes anyone who wants a vaccine and is eligible will receive their first doses by the first day of summer.
People living in areas with the highest transmission rates will be prioritized as part of Phase 2, starting with the most at-risk regions in Toronto and Peel. Eligibility will expand to other hot spots based on transmission patterns.
“Mobile teams are being organized to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals aged 18 or over,” the government said in a statement. “Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in highly impacted neighborhoods, including at faith-based locations and community centres in those hot spots, in collaboration with public health units and community organizations within those communities.”
Education workers who support students with special needs, as well as education workers in hot-spot areas in Toronto and Peel, will be eligible. As vaccine supply increases, Ford said eligibility will expand to other hot spots and all education workers as supply allows.
After announcing a new stay-at-home order and state of emergency, Ford said Ontario aims to vaccinate 40 per cent of adults over the next four weeks.
In Toronto, the age of eligibility is 60+ for city-run vaccination sites. Starting on April 27, Toronto residents 45 and older in 114 high-risk areas, identified postal codes, will be able to book appointments at city-run clinics.
Outside of the hot spots, the timeline for eligibility will start with people in the “highest risk” categories and gradually include people in the “high risk” and “at risk” categories, but the province has only given ballpark dates for when eligibility will expand. For example, essential workers who do not live in COVID-19 hot spots will be eligible around mid-May, the province said.
Asked why those workers would have to wait until mid-May, Ford said on Tuesday that Ontario’s immediate priorities are elderly people who are not yet vaccinated under Phase 1, as well as essential workers in hot-spot regions, particularly workers for big companies like Amazon and in the manufacturing sector.
Barring further issues with vaccine supply, Phase 2 of the province’s vaccination rollout is scheduled to last until July. The government has updated the list of Ontario residents eligible for COVID-19 vaccines under Phase 2.
Here is the eligibility list as of May 11, 2021:
Public health units determine age-based eligibility for their own community’s needs. This means eligible age groups may differ between regions.
Individuals ages 18 to 49 in hot spot communities are eligible for vaccination, starting in Peel and Toronto. Upcoming mobile and pop-up clinics will be promoted locally by community partners and public health units. Do not book through the provincial booking system.
Vaccination for individuals in this group will take place:
If you are in this group, your health care provider (for example, your family doctor or specialist) will contact you to book an appointment when supply is available, or you can book online using the province’s online booking system when vaccines are available to your age group.
This list is not exhaustive – health care practitioners will use their best medical judgement to vaccinate patients with health conditions not listed (such as rare diseases) that may put them at similar or greater risk to the listed conditions.