The Ontario government announced Thursday that due to increases in the amount of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses Canada will receive in May, anyone age 18 and older will be able to book an appointment to get vaccinated by the end of May through the provincial system, as early as the week of May 24.
"Ontario’s vaccine rollout is continuing to focus on getting vaccines to those most at risk” a statement from Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, reads. "With a stable and reliable supply of vaccines on the way, we will continue expanding access to the vaccine in communities across the province, especially those areas that continue to be hit hardest by COVID-19."
"The best vaccine remains the first one you’re offered, and I strongly encourage everyone to sign up as soon as it’s their turn."
What Ontario's vaccine rollout will look like over the next month
Ontario expects to receive 800,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine per week at the beginning of May, increasing to 940,000 doses per week by the end of that month.
For the weeks of May 3 and May 10, 50 per cent of Ontario's vaccine supply will be allocated to hot spots for mobile teams, pop-up clinics, mass immunization clinics, hospitals, primary care and pharmacies.
"The belief is that by doing this for two weeks, very aggressively, not taking any vaccine away from the existing other public health units, we can actually really beat down the positivity rates within those communities and ultimately, help all of Ontario get back to normal," Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said at a press conference on Thursday.
Jones added that 16 select pharmacy locations in hot spot communities in the Toronto and Peel regions will being administering Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to individuals 55 and older, expected to be expanded later in May, "as supply allows."
Beginning on Friday, April 30 at 8:00 a.m., individuals 55 and older across Ontario will be eligible to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system.
When asked if the province can handle this increased vaccine administration activity, the solicitor general said that public health units have had "a lot of excess capacity in terms of wanting to have either clinics open longer, wanting to have them open for more days of the week."
Jones added that how long it will take for individuals 18 and older to actually get their vaccine depends on their particular hotspot and/or public health unit.
"Many public health units book two weeks out," she explained. "If there are other opportunities, like through [pharmacies],...through pop-up clinics that are provided in those hot spot FSAs, it could happen very quickly."