Ontario updates list of priority groups for COVID-19 vaccines as supply expected to increase

WATCH ABOVE: Speaking to reporters outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada has received an updated delivery schedule from Pfizer that confirms the country will receive the four million COVID-19 vaccine doses promised by the end of March.

The Ontario government has updated its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans for the coming weeks with supply expected to increase.

In a memo sent to provincial medical officers of health and hospital CEOs, the provincial government’s COVID-19 vaccination task force said that “residents at all long-term care homes across the province have been given an opportunity for their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

“Given the expected gradual increase in Ontario’s vaccine supply, the next target groups within the Phase One priority populations have been identified for vaccination,” the memo read.

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The memo lists the following individuals as being in “immediate priority” to receive the first dose of a vaccine:

  • Staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes, First Nations elder care homes and any residents who have not received a dose.
  • Alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have an admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home.
  • “Highest priority” health-care workers, including those who deal directly with COVID-19 patients, medical first responders, some community workers, and others.
  • “Very high priority” health-care workers, including more hospital workers and health-care workers in congregate care settings, more community workers, and others.
  • Indigenous adults in northern remote and high-risk communities.

The memo then identifies the next priority for first-dose vaccinations, once all of those listed above have been addressed:

  • Adults aged 80 and older
  • Staff, caregivers, and residents in retirement homes and other congregate settings for seniors.
  • “High priority” health-care workers, including those involved in community care with a lower risk of exposure serving both special and general populations, as well as those involved in non-acute rehabilitation.
  • All Indigenous adults.
  • Adults receiving chronic home care.

The memo also states that efforts should be made to fill any last-minute cancellations, “no-shows” or to administer remaining doses at the end of the day, but “only to Phase One priority populations.”

Global News reached out to the Ministry of Health requesting information as to how those in the community, like adults aged 80 and over, will be able to get an appointment for a shot once it becomes available.

A spokesperson said planning is ongoing and added “more details will be provided in the near future.”

According to federal government figures, Canada is set to receive 336,375 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the upcoming week, with Ontario getting 130,650 doses.

However, officials note that is based on an estimation of five doses per vial, while Health Canada last week approved for Pfizer vials to be used for six doses.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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