Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations for those 80-years and up to start week of March 15

Ontarians 80 years and older will start to get vaccinated during the third week of March, says the head of the province’s vaccine task force.

By BT Toronto

Ontarians 80 years and older will start to get vaccinated during the third week of March, says the head of the province’s vaccine task force.


Retired General Rick Hillier says Phase 2 of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination plan will begin next month and those 80 years and older should start getting their first doses starting the week of March 15.

An online booking system and service desk will become available on that date as well and people in that 80 and older age range, or those booking for them, can access it.


“Unless you’re 80-years-old or unless you’re acting to get a reservation for somebody who is 80-years-old or more, please do not go online. You will not be permitted to go through the system if you’re not in that age bracket,” Hillier warned against anyone attempting to jump the queue.

Quebec’s portal to book online vaccines is scheduled to go live this week, but Hillier it’s not necessary yet in Ontario because they are completing the first phase of vaccinations for long-term care residents and health care workers. Those individuals are expected to receive their second doses by next week.

Hillier says the task force aims to then vaccinate adults aged 75 and older starting April 15, and shots will go to those 70 and older beginning May 1. He says people aged 65 and older will be vaccinated starting June 1.

Vaccinations in populations considered high-risk, including Indigenous adults, will continue during that phase and essential workers will begin getting their shots in May.






















Hillier says pharmacies will also begin assisting with vaccinations during Phase 2, which will take much of the strain off hospitals in case there is a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Hillier says they hope to complete between 16,000 to 18,000 vaccinations a day but he cautioned that Ontario’s plan is dependent on vaccine supply from the federal government.

Hillier also expressed skepticism about the federal government’s timeline for inoculating all Canadians. Ottawa has consistently said that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by the end of September, but Hillier isn’t so sure.

“I’d love to say, yeah by Labour Day weekend we’re going to have every single person in Ontario who is eligible and who wants a vaccine to have one. I’m a little bit reluctant to do that because it depends on the arrival of those vaccines.”

Dr. Nathan Stall, a geriatrician at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, called the province’s vaccine rollout to seniors slow and “extremely disappointing,” noting that the group represents more than 95 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Ontario to date.

He said the plan to vaccinate essential workers at the same time as older adults will complicate efforts, and called for greater transparency on how groups are being prioritized.

“Let’s simplify it and let’s focus our supply of vaccine where we know deaths and hospitalizations are occurring,” Stall said in an interview.

Hillier said he would have liked to see the booking system up and running sooner but noted that it hadn’t been required for the high-priority populations the province has so far focused on, such as those in long-term care.

He added that some private-sector companies with large operations have offered to vaccinate their essential workers, their families and communities when the time comes and the province intends to take up those offers.

Premier Doug Ford said his province is lagging behind others – such as Alberta – in offering vaccines to adults under age 80 because Ontario has a larger population with more people in long-term care.

He said the rollout is focused on those most at risk and argued the plan depends on supply.

“The bottom line is, we need vaccines. If we had millions of vaccines, it’d be a lot easier,” Ford said Wednesday.

“When we get to that point, everyone will know when their turn is coming.”

NDP leader Andrea Horwath accused the Ford government of botching the vaccine rollout, calling it “terrifying.”

Horwath predicts the goal of having everyone in Ontario vaccinated by the end of the summer won’t happen. She says the Ford government has been incompetent in the handling of the virus.

Liberal health critic John Fraser said the government seems unprepared for the broader distribution of vaccines.

“People want answers. They didn’t get any answers this morning, other than it’s taking longer than we thought it would, and we’re actually not ready,” Fraser said.

A total of 602,848 vaccine doses have been administered in the province so far with 251,590 people having received both doses.


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