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Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash.com
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash.com

*NOTE: We have launched this page to provide a consolidated source of information and updates to residents on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, and where relevant any involvement by the City of Burlington or Region of Halton in assisting with vaccination  programs.

Check back regularly for updates.

The Vaccination Program is voluntary and administered by the Province of Ontario, with help from local Public Health units — for the City of Burlington this means Halton Public Health. 

The City of Burlington is ready to assist, if needed, with facilities and logistics for any broad vaccination efforts in the Province’s rollout program through our City COVID-19 Vaccine Coordination Taskforce.

Please continue to visit halton.ca/COVID19 for the current situation in Halton and our COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for up to date information on the status of our COVID19 vaccination program.

LINK: ONTARIO’S VACCINE DISTRIBUTION IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

UPDATES

Friday, Oct. 15, 2021:

  • Enhanced COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate with QR Code and Verify Ontario App Available for Download Starting October 15News Release
    • In advance of October 22, the Ontario government is making the enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code and the free, made-in Ontario verification app, Verify Ontario, available for download. Together, these tools will make it easier, more secure and convenient for individuals to provide proof of vaccination where required to do so, and for businesses and organizations to verify vaccine certificates while protecting people’s privacy.
    • To ensure a smooth user experience, the province is initially making the enhanced vaccine certificates available for download in cohorts. Enhanced vaccine certificates with official QR codes will be made available for download from the COVID-19 vaccination portal over three days based on birth month:
      • October 15, 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between January and April
      • October 16, 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between May and August
      • October 17, 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between September to December
    • Starting October 18 at 6:00 a.m., the portal will open for any individual to download their enhanced vaccine certificate, regardless of their birth month. Individuals can also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have their enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to them.
    • People can save the electronic version of their vaccine certificate with a QR code to their phone or print a paper copy. Businesses must accept both electronic and paper versions.
    • In addition, while the current vaccine receipt without a QR code remains valid and will continue to be accepted, the province is encouraging individuals to download their enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code as an easier, more secure and convenient way to have their proof of vaccination verified. Ontarians will need to continue to show a piece of identification with their name and date of birth along with their proof of vaccination when visiting select businesses and organizations.
    • Ontario’s enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code is built to the SMART Health Card standard adopted by the federal government in collaboration with provinces and territories. To support Ontarians who are travelling internationally, Ontario is also including the Government of Canada logo on the enhanced vaccine certificate.
    • In addition, businesses and organizations can now download the free Verify Ontario app from the Apple App and Google Play stores. The app has been made available in advance of October 22 to ensure businesses and organizations download the app and have sufficient time to become familiar with it.
    • The Verify Ontario app for businesses can be used without an internet connection, but like any app it will need to connect to the internet periodically to keep it up to date. The app never stores personal information and only shows the minimum amount of information necessary to confirm vaccination.
    • Verify Ontario will only scan and read official, government issued QR codes, such as Ontario’s vaccine certificate and those SMART Health Codes from other provinces including Quebec, British Columbia and Yukon Territory.
    • Ontario has updated regulations and guidance for businesses to support the implementation of the enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code and the Verify Ontario app.

Friday, Oct. 8, 2021:

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021:

  • City of Toronto provides update on mandatory vaccination policy for City staffNews Release
    • Today, the City of Toronto reported that as of October 5, 26,138 members of the Toronto Public Service are fully vaccinated, which is 89 per cent of City staff who disclosed their COVID-19 vaccination status. Five per cent of City staff who disclosed their vaccination status are partially vaccinated and two per cent chose not to disclose their vaccination status.
    • In total, 95 per cent of the City’s active staff have now completed the staff vaccination disclosure form. City staff were required to disclose their vaccination status by September 17 and be partially vaccinated by September 30, under the City of Toronto’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees.
    • Starting the week of November 1, staff who do not provide proof of receiving two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be suspended for six weeks without pay. During the suspension, staff may return to work if they provide proof of having received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination.
    • After the unpaid suspension, on December 13, if staff do not provide proof that they are fully vaccinated, their employment will be terminated for cause as they will have chosen not to comply with the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.
    • In the coming weeks, the City will continue its focus on educating staff and encouraging them to get vaccinated as soon as possible. An online training module will continue to be available, and new targeted education sessions and vaccination clinics at select work locations with lower vaccination rates will be offered. To allow staff to take advantage of these opportunities, staff who receive their first dose and provide proof of it by October 15 will be given until November 15 to get their second dose.
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
  • Prime Minister announces mandatory vaccination for the federal workforce and federally regulated transportation sectorsNews Release, Backgrounder
    • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, today announced details of the government’s plans to require COVID-19 vaccination across the federal public service and federally regulated transportation sectors.
    • Under the new policy, federal public servants in the Core Public Administration, including members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, will be required to confirm their vaccination status by October 29, 2021. Those who are unwilling to disclose their vaccination status or to be fully vaccinated will be placed on administrative leave without pay as early as November 15, 2021.
    • Employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors will have until October 30, 2021, to establish vaccination policies that ensure employees are vaccinated. Effective October 30, 2021, travellers departing from Canadian airports, and travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, will be required to be fully vaccinated, with very limited exceptions. The government is working with industry and key partners to put a strict vaccine requirement in place for cruise ships before the resumption of the 2022 cruise season.
    • Crown corporations and separate agencies are being asked to implement vaccine policies mirroring the requirements announced today for the rest of the public service. The Acting Chief of the Defence Staff will also issue a directive requiring vaccination for the Canadian Armed Forces. The government will keep working with employers in other federally regulated workplaces to ensure vaccination is prioritized for workers in these sectors.
    • There will be very limited exceptions to the vaccination requirement for travellers to address the realities of remote, fly-in communities; emergency travel; and exceptional medical reasons.
    • There will be consequences for travellers caught falsifying documentation, as well as for transportation operators who don’t comply.
    • For travellers who are in the process of being vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they will be able to travel if they can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel, but that transition period will end on November 30.

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
  • Targeted COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Screening to Keep Students SafeNews Release
    • Ontario is improving access to local targeted COVID-19 rapid antigen screening by making it available for students through participating public health units where risk of transmission is high. By expanding access to rapid antigen screening, the Ontario government is helping to keep schools and licensed child care settings open and safe for children and students.
    • The program will support access to voluntary, rapid asymptomatic screening for unvaccinated children and students. This will help identify and prevent transmission in schools and licensed child care settings, as identified by local medical officers of health based on local epidemiological circumstances. This school-based program is in keeping with current provincial guidance for rapid antigen screening and based on advice from Public Health Ontario, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and Ontario’s Testing Strategy Expert Panel and is focused on screening of children in public health units with the highest risk of transmission.
    • Routine rapid antigen screening of fully vaccinated individuals and children is not currently recommended given the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines as well as the risks posed to the disruption of learning as a result of false positives
    • While vaccines and existing classroom prevention strategies – such as masking, cohorting and daily symptom screening measures – remain key defences against COVID-19, screening and testing remain important tools in protecting against the spread of COVID-19.
    • COVID-19 rapid antigen screening for child care and school age children will proceed as follows:
      • Based on the guidance of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local Medical Officers of Health will continue to monitor local COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates to identify when to implement rapid antigen screening in parts of their region based on local factors and needs.
      • Rapid antigen screening will be used only for unvaccinated asymptomatic students and children who are not high-risk contacts. Symptomatic or high-risk contacts should continue to access lab-based PCR testing available at assessment centres and other collection centres.
      • Where the local public health unit has identified schools or child care centres that would benefit from this screening, rapid antigen screening tests will be made available. Parents will be able to choose if their unvaccinated asymptomatic children will participate in this screening offered by their schools or licensed child care settings.
      • Unvaccinated children participating in the program will be able to conduct the rapid antigen screening at home with instructions.
      • Children who receive a positive result will be required to seek a confirmatory lab-based PCR test at a local assessment centre or specimen collection centre and isolate until the result of that lab-based PCR test is known. Children who receive a negative result on a rapid antigen screening test will be able to continue in-person learning. More detailed information including duration and frequency will follow.

Friday, Oct. 1, 2021:

  • Ontario Taking Additional Steps to Protect Long-Term Care Home ResidentsNews Release
    • As part of the government’s plan to protect long-term care residents and staff during the Delta-driven fourth wave, Ontario is taking further action with an additional suite of tools. This includes making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all in-home staff, support workers, students, and volunteers by November 15, 2021, unless a staff member has a valid medical exemption, as well as expanded inspections of homes and redirecting provincial resources to enhance and audit existing testing in homes.
    • Vaccination rates of staff in many homes are not high enough in the face of the risk posed by the Delta variant, and this is putting vulnerable residents at risk. To ensure the health and safety of staff and residents, mandating vaccination for in-home staff has now become essential, and homes are now required to meet the following requirements:
      • Staff, support workers, students, and volunteers will have until November 15, 2021 to show proof that they have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or to show proof of a valid medical exemption.
      • Staff who do not have all required doses or a valid medical exemption by the deadline will not be able to enter a long-term care home to work.
      • Newly hired staff will be required to be fully vaccinated before they begin working in a home unless they have a valid medical exemption.
      • Homes will begin randomly testing fully vaccinated individuals, including staff, caregivers and visitors, to help detect possible breakthrough cases of COVID-19 as early as possible.
    • In addition to adding randomized testing of vaccinated individuals, homes will continue to regularly test individuals who are not fully vaccinated. The ministry will leverage provincial testing resources to inspect and audit these results by sending testing teams into homes to validate the results that homes have been reporting to the province. The ministry will also step up rigorous inspections of homes’ infection, prevention and control measures.
  • AGCO suspends and moves to revoke the liquor licence of J.A.K.K. Tuesdays, KingstonNews Release
    • The Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued an Order of Interim Suspension of the liquor licence of J.A.K.K. Tuesdays, located at 642 Progress Ave, Kingston ON, for reasons of public interest and safety.  The interim suspension takes effect immediately.
    • At the same time, the Registrar has also issued a Notice of Proposal (NOP) to revoke the establishment’s liquor licence for infractions of the Liquor Licence Act (LLA), including the requirement that the licence holder act and carry on business in accordance with the law, with honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.
    • Prior to the announcement, on September 10, 2021, AGCO Compliance Officials (CO) visited the premises and met with the licensee. During the inspection, the COs provided education to the licensee regarding the requirements of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA). The licensee responded that he did not intend to comply with the ROA. There was signage posted at the establishment indicating that it would not comply with the ROA requirements.
    • Several complaints regarding the establishment’s non-compliance with the ROA were received by the Kingston Public Health Unit. By-law officers visited the establishment on or about September 23, 2021 and made observations of non-compliance with the ROA. On September 24, 2021, City of Kingston By-Law officials charged the licensee with violations of the ROA.
    • An AGCO CO attended the premises after the provincial offences notices were served on the establishment and on the licensee. The CO made observations and noted that the licensee continued to act contrary to the ROA.
    • As a result, the Registrar considers it to be necessary in the public interest to immediately suspend the liquor licence.
  • Update: City of Hamilton Vaccination Verification Policy for City EmployeesNews Release
    • In August 2021, Hamilton City Council approved a Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Verification Policy, which requires all City employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
    • As of yesterday, approximately 78 per cent of employees have reported in with their information required under the policy (proof of at least one dose of their vaccination, proof of exemption, or their education program attestation), with approximately 93 per cent of those employees reporting they are fully vaccinated.
    • Employees who do not provide proof of both doses of their vaccination, or who are not fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021, will be required to submit regular negative COVID-19 testing results. More details on the process for COVID-19 testing will be available in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021:

  • Ontario Recommends the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Individuals Aged 18-24 Years OldStatement
    • Today, Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement on COVID-19 vaccines for individuals aged 18-24 years old:
    • “Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and significantly reduce the risk of infection and serious illness, including hospitalization.
    • Out of an abundance of caution, Ontario is issuing a preferential recommendation of the use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals aged 18-24 years old effective immediately based on the current available analysis from Ontario’s adverse events following immunization (AEFI) surveillance system.
    • This recommendation was based on the advice of Ontario’s Children COVID-19 Vaccine Table, Ontario Vaccine Clinical Advisory Group, and Public Health Ontario and is due to an observed increase in Ontario of the very rare heart condition called pericarditis/myocarditis following vaccination with Moderna compared to Pfizer in the 18 to 24 year old age group, particularly among males. The majority of reported cases have been mild with individuals recovering quickly, normally with anti-inflammatory medication. Symptoms have typically been reported to start within one week after vaccination, more commonly after the second dose.
    • This decision is also based on the increased and reliable supply of the Pfizer vaccines and the fact that individuals who received Moderna for their first dose can safely take the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for their second dose. Mixing vaccines is safe and effective, and full vaccination with two doses of the mRNA vaccine offers the greatest protection you can have against COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
    • Based on the significantly higher risks of COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU admissions and death among the unvaccinated, those who received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine absolutely did the right thing to protect themselves, their loved ones and communities. Vaccination is the best way to protect against COVID-19 related complications, and the risk of contracting myocarditis and other serious adverse events including pericarditis, arrhythmia, deep-vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, intracranial hemorrhage and thrombocytopenia is 18 times higher among patients with COVID-19. Should individuals aged 18 to 24-year old wish to receive Moderna they can continue to do so with informed consent. The province will continue using the Pfizer vaccine for youth ages 12-17 (including those turning 12 in 2021).

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021:

  • Update on COVID -19 Projections from the Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus TablesPresentation
    • New cases, hospitalizations and ICU occupancy are not increasing. There is a wide range for case projections, reflecting the fragile situation and high degree of instability as colder weather approaches with more time indoors.
    • With the start of school testing rates are up across Ontario. Test positivity appears to be declining.
    • Continued control over case growth requires high vaccination rates in the eligible population, continued public health measures, and a flattening of growth in mobility.
    • The risk of contracting COVID-19, being hospitalized for COVID-19, and entering the ICU is several times higher for unvaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated people have a 7-fold higher risk of symptomatic COVID-19 disease, a 25-fold higher risk of being in the hospital and 60-fold higher risk of being in the ICU compared to the fully vaccinated
    • Vaccination coverage is increasing slowly.
    • The 4th wave has flattened due to continued public health measures and vaccination but cases in children are increasing.
    • Post COVID-19 Condition –or Long COVID –will substantially impact the health of thousands of Ontarians
    • About 1 in 10 individuals with COVID-19 infection will continue to have symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks (estimated 57,000 to 78,000 individuals in Ontario based on data up to August 2021)
      • Most common symptoms: fatigue, shortness of breath, pain, anxiety and depression, trouble thinking/concentrating (“brain fog”)
      • Can impact individuals of any age or baseline health, and can occur even if minimal to no symptoms during initial infection
    • Vaccines are strongly protective:
      • Reduce the chance of getting infected by about 85%
      • Reduce the chance of developing Long COVID-19 in breakthrough infections by about 50%

Friday Sept. 24, 2021:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS:
  • Ontario Cautiously Easing Capacity Limits in Select Settings Where Proof of Vaccination is RequiredNews Release
    • With public health and health care indicators stable and proof of vaccination now in effect, the government, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is cautiously easing capacity limits for select indoor and outdoor settings where proof of vaccination is required.
    • Effective September 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., capacity limits will be increased in many of the indoor settings where proof of vaccination is required.
      • Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres; sporting events; concerts, theatres and cinemas; racing venues (e.g., horse racing); and commercial and film television productions with studio audiences will be increased to up to 50 per cent capacity or 10,000 people (whichever is less) for indoor events.
      • For certain outdoor event venues where patrons stand, capacity limits will increase to up to 75 per cent capacity or 15,000 people (whichever is less).
      • For certain outdoor event venues where patrons are seated, capacity limits will be increased to up to 75 per cent capacity or 30,000 people (whichever is less)
    • This is in recognition of the fact that the risk of transmission is lower because of reduced mobility around the venue. In addition, proof of vaccination will now be required in outdoor settings where the normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more to help keep these venues safe for patrons.
    • “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of Ontarians adhering to public health measures and going out to get vaccinated, some of our key public health and health care indicators are currently stable,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Work remains however, and we must all remain vigilant and continue following the measures and advice in place, and continue to work to vaccinate as many Ontarians as possible to achieve the highest immunization rates we can, and to increase our level of community immunity and protect those who cannot receive the vaccine.”

Monday, Sept. 20, 2021:

  • Expanded eligibility for third doses
    • On Sept. 15, the Province announced expanded eligibility for third doses for those at highest-risk in order to provide them with an extra layer of protection against the Delta variant. The following groups are currently eligible for third doses:
    • Existing eligible groups:
      • transplant recipients (including solid organ transplant and hematopoietic stem cell transplants);
      • patients with hematological cancers (examples include lymphoma, myeloma, leukemia) on active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy);
      • recipients of an anti-CD20 agent (for example, rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab);
      • residents of high-risk congregate settings including long-term care homes, higher-risk licensed retirement homes and First Nations elder care lodges;
    • Additional eligible groups:
      • those undergoing active treatment for solid tumors;
      • those who are in receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy;
      • those with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (for example, DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
      • Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; and
      • those undergoing active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.
    • Public Health is updating the third dose referral form to reflect these changes. Once these updates are complete, these individuals can get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region vaccination clinic, pharmacy or participating primary care provider. Individuals must present a completed referral form from their health care provider when they arrive at the clinic location.
    • Halton Region’s mobile teams are providing third doses to residents of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes. The Province has identified the settings in Halton that meet the criteria for third dose. Not all retirement homes will be eligible at this time.
  • Vaccine receipts/certificates
    • As part of Sept. 15’s Provincial announcement, the Province released the regulations and guidance for businesses and organizations to support them in implementing proof of vaccination requirements, which take effect on September 22, 2021.
    • In advance of September 22, vaccination receipts are available from the provincial portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 or the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
    • For residents who do not have a green (photo) or red and white Ontario health card, or received their vaccination out-of-province, Halton Region Public Health is currently working on a process to provide vaccination receipts. Once this process is confirmed, we will share this information with you. We will also provide any important updates as the Province releases additional details on the enhanced vaccine certificate program and app or as the Province nears the October 22 implementation date.
  • Health Canada approval of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines
    • On Sept. 16, Health Canada announced that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are now fully approved. Previously, these vaccines were authorized for use under an interim order in order to allow a quick rollout of the vaccines. This order ended on September 16.
    • Additionally, Health Canada announced name changes for the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will now be known as “Comirnaty”, Moderna will be “Spikevax” and AstraZeneca’s will be called “Vaxzevria”.

Friday, Sept. 17, 2021:

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021:

Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021:

Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021:

  • Region of Halton News Release: Halton Medical Officer of Health Recommending COVID-19 Workplace Vaccination Policies
  • Ontario Deploying Last Mile Strategy to Further Increase Vaccination Rates – Media Release
    • With over 82 per cent of eligible Ontarians aged 12 and over having received one dose of the vaccine and 75 per cent having received both doses, the government is continuing its last mile strategy to reach eligible individuals who have yet to receive a first or second dose. These latest efforts continue to make vaccines readily and conveniently available, especially in lower-vaccinated areas, and include proactively contacting individuals who have not booked their accelerated second dose appointment.
    • To support the province’s last mile strategy, the province and public health units are focusing on smaller, community-based and easy-to-access settings for vaccinations. This includes mobile clinics and community-based pop-ups, dedicated clinic days for families with people with disabilities, and townhall meetings in multiple languages. In addition, the province is working with public health units to target areas with low vaccination rates, as identified by postal codes, to support localized vaccination strategies as well as targeted marketing by the province in these areas.
    • To ensure all eligible Ontarians benefit from the strong protection offered by both doses of the vaccine as soon as possible, the provincial call centre is calling Ontarians to remind them to rebook their accelerated second dose appointments. Over 110,000 second dose appointments have been successfully booked or rebooked through this initiative.
    • Public health units are also partnering with elementary and secondary school boards, colleges and universities to make vaccines readily available for all students returning to school. This includes youth who were born in 2009 and will turn 12 this year.
    • In response to evolving data around the transmissibility of the Delta variant and based on the recent experiences of other jurisdictions, recently the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, paused exiting the Roadmap to Reopen. This additional time will allow the province to further increase immunization rates by engaging in targeted strategies to make it easier and more convenient for individuals to get vaccinated.
  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce presents VAX-PASS TENETSdocument
    • For businesses looking to implement a proof-of-vaccination framework, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce recommends the following Vax-Pass Tenets, which many Ontario businesses have already adopted. As more businesses proclaim and adopt these community standards, we will dispel harmful disinformation about the legality and efficacy of well-designed vax-pass programs and create shared confidence that we are on the right path to a safe economic and societal recovery.
      • Safety – Businesses should be guided by their obligation to take all reasonable steps necessary under the circumstances to protect the health and safety of their workforce and place of business.
      • Science – Businesses implementing vax-pass programs acknowledge that vaccination-based entry policies are consistent with the current science on COVID-19 and recommended public health best practices. Businesses should be aware of and, where necessary, responsive to ongoing public health developments and may consider seeking expert medical advice specific to their workplace/commercial spaces.
      • Accommodation –  Businesses should ensure vax-pass programs provide for accommodation to the point of undue hardship under the Ontario Human Rights Code, where applicable.
      • Privacy – Businesses should use the least intrusive mechanism to verify vaccination status. Businesses should follow their own privacy policies, applicable laws and applicable guidance from privacy commissioners in respect of the collection, use, disclosure, retention and destruction of vaccination status confirmation provided by individuals.
      • Transparency – Businesses should engage in a clear, ongoing dialogue with employees, customers and other partners about their vax-pass program to manage understanding and expectations and educate stakeholders about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.

Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021:

Monday, Aug. 23, 2021:

  • Toronto Medical Officer of Health strongly recommending Toronto employers institute COVID-19 vaccination policy and support workplace vaccinationNews Release
    • Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, is strongly recommending local employers institute a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and the public from COVID-19.
    • As part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing response to the pandemic, Toronto Public Health is launching a workplace toolkit including guidance on developing a workplace vaccination policy. The policy should explain its purpose, specific actions workers must take including providing proof of vaccination status or a medical exemption, and timelines.
    • The resources launched today will also allow Toronto businesses to apply to host an on-site vaccination clinic. Toronto Public Health will follow-up with applicants to discuss eligibility for an onsite clinic.
    • Dr. de Villa and Toronto Public Health strongly recommend that workplace vaccination policies require at minimum:
      • Workers to provide proof of their vaccination series approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization
      • Unvaccinated employees to provide written proof of a medical reason from a physician or nurse practitioner that includes whether the reason is permanent or time-limited
      • Unvaccinated workers to complete a vaccination education course on the risks of being unvaccinated in the workplace
    • Employers should also identify how workers’ vaccination status information will be collected and protected in accordance with privacy legislation and explain the level of risk posed by COVID-19 in each unique workplace setting.
  • Vaughan considering introducing its own vaccine mandate for city workersArticle
    • The City of Vaughan is considering implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for its employees on the heels of Toronto’s announcement that it would require its entire workforce to be fully immunized by the end of October.
    • Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua tells CP24 that he recently reached out to York Region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji to gauge his feelings about the mandate and was told that it is something the city should do given the concerns over the Delta variant.
    • At this point it is unclear what form a vaccine mandate for City of Vaughan employees will take, though Bevilacqua said that he wants to put workers “on notice that this is going to happen.”
  • Canada’s banks announce mandatory vaccines — and other big employers are expected to followArticle
    • Canada’s biggest financial institutions, which each employ tens of thousands of people across the country, are rolling out mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies, and experts say other employers, large and small, are likely to follow the banks’ lead in the coming days and weeks.
    • Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal all circulated internal memos Friday announcing they will require employees to be fully vaccinated within about two months. Bank of Nova Scotia also said it was “moving in the direction of making vaccinations mandatory for all Canadian-based employees, and contractors, later in the fall.”
    • Those moves came after Royal Bank of Canada announced its own mandatory vaccination policy internally Thursday evening, saying it would require employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31 to work “on our premises.”
    • The banks’ stated policies so far all differ somewhat in the details, with variations in specifics around how employees will share their vaccination status with their employer, whether the policies will apply only to those working on site, and how the banks will deal with workers who remain unvaccinated by the end of October or early November. TD, for instance, said it will impose new requirements, including mandatory rapid testing, for those who have still not been vaccinated or disclosed their status.
    • “I think these companies are paving the way for apprehensive smaller companies,” said Hena Singh, a partner at Singh Lamarche LLP, adding that it’s safe to assume that the banks received legal opinions on the policies.
    • She expects that there will eventually be a legal challenge to some aspect of an employer’s policy on mandatory vaccines, and she said a court ruling or arbitration decision would be helpful in confirming that the approach is legal. Until then, however, other companies can see what sort of pushback and public response the banks receive.

Monday, Aug. 16, 2021:

  • Ontario Working with Public Health Units to Run COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in SchoolsNews Release
    • The Ontario government is working with public health units and publicly funded school boards to plan and host vaccination clinics in or nearby schools to continue to fight COVID-19. Clinics are expected to run before school starts and during the first few weeks of school. The program is part of the province’s last mile strategy to target those who have yet to receive a first or second dose and will provide accessible and convenient access to vaccines for eligible students and their families, as well as educators and school staff who are returning to school this fall.
    • While COVID-19 vaccination continues to be voluntary for anyone eligible in Ontario, health experts encourage anyone who is able to get the vaccine as a highly effective tool in the fight against COVID-19 and its variants.
    • The education sector, and public health units, have played a critical role in getting youth vaccinated, and keeping students and families safe during this historic pandemic. As Ontario continues with its vaccination program and rollout, ensuring all eligible Ontarians who wish to receive the vaccine can get one will ensure schools remain open for in-person learning for the full school year.
    • With respect to consent at school-focused clinics, COVID-19 vaccines will only be provided if informed consent is received from the individual, including eligible students, and as long as they have the capability to make this decision. Health care providers, the school, and families must respect a young person’s decision regarding vaccination. Parents and guardians are encouraged to discuss vaccination with their children prior to attending a school vaccination clinic.
  • GTHA Mayors and Chairs Welcome Provincial and Federal Governments Taking Action to Protect Public HealthNews Release
    • The Mayors and Chairs welcomed the coming mover by the Government of Ontario to mandate vaccines for hospital and long-term care workers. This would be a good step forward that will better protect some of our most vulnerable residents and our frontline heroes who work in hospitals and long-term care homes.
    • The Mayors and Chairs welcomed the Government of Canada’s move last week to proceed with a proof of vaccination system and to mandate vaccinations for federal workers and air and interprovincial train passengers.
    • We believe it is important for all governments to move as quickly as possible to address this health issue and do everything we can to further encourage residents to get vaccinated.
    • We also remind our residents of the very important continuing need to respect other public health measures that remain in place including the wearing of masks and capacity limits, especially as they relate to indoor settings.
    • The impact of another lockdown would be devastating to the economy of the GTHA so we support any actions taken by the relevant governments to protect the health of all residents and encourage vaccination.

Friday, Aug. 13, 2021:

  • Ontario’s Big City Mayors Call for Proof of Vaccination and Childcare Plan
    • Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) are urging the province to establish a COVID-19 proof of vaccination system. Around the world, certified vaccination records are helping businesses and event spaces to safely open while encouraging more people to get vaccinated. This will help reduce a fourth wave in Ontario as well. Organizations as diverse as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, CFIB, the Ontario Science table, colleges and universities, are all calling for such a system.
    • OBCM also passed a motion calling on the provincial government to reach an agreement on the $10 per day federal childcare plan to support the economy and reduce household expenses for Ontarians.
    • The COVID-19 crisis has been brought to the forefront the need for all Ontarians to have reliable access to internet. OBCM supports continued efforts to provide proper broadband infrastructure, but also calls for affordable rates as too many Canadians are struggling with high fees for internet services. “COVID-19 has underlined the fact that broadband internet for all our citizens is a basic necessity and essential utility, and access does not simply refer to broadband infrastructure availability, but also to its affordability”, stated Chatham-Kent mayor, Darrin Canniff. OBCM is looking to the Federal government to review the recent decision by the CRTC Commission and replace it with evidence based 2019 Rates Order.
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS:
    • Government of Canada to require vaccination of federal workforce and federally regulated transportation sectorNews Release
      • The Government of Canada today announced its intent to require vaccination as early as the end of September across the federal public service. Vaccinations are our best line of defence and for those few who are unable to be vaccinated, accommodation or alternative measures, such as testing and screening, may be determined in each situation, to protect broader public health by reducing the risk of COVID-19.
      • As the country’s largest employer, the Government of Canada is committed to playing a leadership role by further protecting the health and safety of public servants and the communities where they live and work across Canada and around the world.
      • In addition, as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October, the Government of Canada will require employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated. The vaccination requirement will also extend to certain travellers. This includes all commercial air travellers, passengers on interprovincial trains, and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, such as cruise ships.
      • The government will engage with key stakeholders, including bargaining agents and transportation sector operators, as we plan for the implementation of these initiatives. Details will be communicated as the work unfolds. The process will include determining how this requirement will be implemented, through confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination and other means of protection, such as testing when necessary.
      • The majority of public servants (173,358 [57.7%])* are located outside the National Capital Region. This includes the core public administration and separate agencies.
      • There are approximately 18,500 employers in federally regulated industries, including federal Crown corporations, that together employ 955,000 employees (or 6.2% of the Canadian workforce), the vast majority (87%) of whom work in medium-size to large firms (in other words those with 100 or more employees). These numbers exclude the federal public service. With the federal public service, there are approximately 19,000 employers and 1,235,000 employees (8% of all workers in Canada).

Friday, Aug. 6, 2021:

  • Ontario Rolls Out Vaccine Clinic on WheelsNews Release
    • Hop on the GO-VAXX bus! The Ontario government is partnering with Metrolinx to offer a new, convenient option for people to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Two GO buses have been temporarily retrofitted to serve as mobile vaccine clinics as part of the province’s last mile strategy to target those who have yet to receive a first or second dose. The first GO-VAXX bus hits the road this weekend, with its first stop at Canada’s Wonderland on Saturday, August 7 and Sunday, August 8 for guests with reservations to the park, as well as Canada’s Wonderland staff.
    • The GO-VAXX buses will travel to malls, festivals, community hubs and events throughout the summer and fall across the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region. No appointments are needed, and anyone aged 12 and over can get their first or second dose while supplies last. The mobile clinics are fully accessible and will be administering the Pfizer vaccine.
    • Each bus is expected to be on the road six days a week. The province will work with local public health units and municipalities to determine specific sites based on local data and needs. The weekly GO-VAXX schedule can be found at www.ontario.ca/vaccinebus and will be updated weekly.
    • As the province’s vaccine rollout progresses, targeted strategies such as the GO-VAXX bus will play a vital role in reaching communities with lower vaccination rates. The province is working with public health units to make it easier and more convenient for individuals to get vaccinated through multiple targeted strategies, including mobile clinics and community-based pop-ups, dedicated clinic days for families with people with disabilities, townhall meetings in multiple languages, and services such as transportation, translation services and drive-through clinics.
    • Anyone wishing to take advantage of the GO-VAXX bus to receive their vaccine is reminded to:
      • Bring your health card. If you do not have a health card or your health card is expired, bring another form of government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport, Status card, or birth certificate.
      • Eat and drink something before you arrive at your appointment to prevent feeling faint or dizzy while being vaccinated.
      • Dress for the weather in case there is a line-up.
      • Wear clothing that allows for easy access to the upper arm such as a loose-fitting top or a t-shirt.
      • Wear a mask that covers your nose, mouth, and chin.
      • Do not visit the GO-VAXX bus if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021:

  • Canada reaches major vaccine campaign milestoneNews Release
    • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that with its most recent shipment, Canada has now received more than 66 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – enough to fully vaccinate every eligible person in Canada – two months ahead of the original goal of September.
    • This milestone in the largest immunization campaign in Canada’s history is the result of a proactive procurement approach, focused on building a diverse vaccine portfolio. As vaccines were authorized by Health Canada, the government remained engaged with vaccine suppliers to speed up delivery schedules and get as many doses into the country as quickly as possible. Canada continues to be a world leader in vaccination rates, with over 80 per cent of eligible people in the country vaccinated with their first dose and approximately 64 per cent fully vaccinated.
    • The Government of Canada is securing access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines now and into the future. Canada has secured COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer for 2022 and 2023, with options to extend into 2024. In addition to providing booster vaccine doses, the agreement provides flexibility to procure new adaptations of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, such as those to protect against mutations or variants of concern and vaccines developed for younger populations.
  • Government of Canada funds two new projects to encourage COVID-19 vaccination in youthNews Release, Backgrounder
    • Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced two new projects aimed at youth that will receive funding through the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF). These projects will promote the importance of vaccinating against COVID-19 to youth aged 12 and over, parents and caretakers, and teachers through school-based interventions and community-based outreach.
    • BGC Canada (formerly Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada) will receive up to $500,000 in funding to promote the benefits of vaccinating against COVID-19 and foster evidence-based dialogue around vaccination among families of children and youth who access programming at local Clubs across Canada.
    • The Canada Safety Council will receive up to $220,000 in funding to create a COVID-19 vaccine education and awareness program to be delivered in schools with the support of teachers across Canada to engage both students and their parents on the importance of vaccinating against COVID-19.
    • The Government of Canada is working closely with experts, provinces and territories, and all partners to encourage vaccine confidence and to better understand the barriers people may face in getting vaccinated. The Immunization Partnership Fund is one tool of many the federal government is using to help people across the country make informed vaccine choices through community mobilization and public outreach.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021:

  • Science Table – COVID-19 Advisory for Ontario – COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates: Key Considerations for the Ontario Context – Report
    • Many jurisdictions are developing and implementing COVID-19 vaccine certificates as falsification-proof, verifiable proof of immunization in secure digital or paper-based formats.
    • Vaccine certificates can be used to regulate entry into discretionary settings that pose a high risk for SARS-CoV-2transmission (e.g., indoor dining, bars, gyms, cultural and sports events).
    • Vaccine certificates can also be used in non-discretionary settings (e.g., schools, universities, congregate settings, and workplaces), especially in settings that require mandatory vaccination.
    • On a short-term basis, vaccine certificates could enable the re-opening of high-risk settings sooner and/or at increased capacity. Vaccine certificates will be of particular importance to maintain economic and societal reopening if public health measures need to be reintroduced.  Some jurisdictions are also implementing vaccine certificates with the goal of incentivizing COVID-19 vaccination.
    • On a longer-term basis, vaccine certificates can serve as a verifiable, secure, standardized, accessible and portable records of immunization.
    • There is currently no scientific evidence of the direct impact of COVID-19 vaccine certificates on SARS-CoV-2 transmission or population vaccination rates, and there are important ethical, legal, accessibility, and privacy considerations concerning their development and implementation.

Monday, July 19, 2021:

  • Government of Canada announces easing of border measures for fully vaccinated travelersNews Release, Backgrounder, International Student Backgrounder
    • On September 7, 2021, provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable, the Government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.
    • As a first step, starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans.
    • Subject to limited exceptions, all travellers must use ArriveCAN (app or web portal) to submit their travel information. If they are eligible to enter Canada and meet specific criteria, fully vaccinated travellers will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.
    • To further support these new measures, Transport Canada is expanding the scope of the existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that currently directs scheduled international commercial passenger flights into four Canadian Airports: Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.
    • Effective August 9, 2021, international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at the following five additional Canadian airports:
      • Halifax Stanfield International Airport;
      • Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport;
      • Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport;
      • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and
      • Edmonton International Airport.
    • These airports, in cooperation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and Transport Canada, are working to implement the measures necessary to safely welcome international passengers as soon as possible after August 9, as conditions dictate.
    • All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result. However effective August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is adjusting its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travellers. Using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers.
    • Finally, with the advent of increased vaccination rates in Canada, declining COVID-19 cases and reduced pressure on health care capacity, the three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air as of 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9. Fully vaccinated travellers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine; however, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021:

  • Federal government delivers $5 billion in pandemic support to provinces and territories for vaccines and health careNews Release, Backgrounder
    • The Government of Canada is providing an emergency top-up of $5 billion for provinces and territories – specifically $4 billion through the Canada Health Transfer to help provinces and territories address immediate health care system pressures and $1 billion to support vaccine rollout campaigns across the country
    • This funding will help provinces and territories address immediate health system pressures, including clearing the backlog of medical procedures, patient care, and access to primary care, put on hold due to the pandemic
    • In addition, the Government of Canada is providing $1 billion to support vaccine rollout campaigns across the country and helping Canadians receive their first and second doses as quickly as possible
    • The funding supports a variety of vaccine-related costs, such as recruiting and training immunizers, establishing mass vaccination clinics, setting up mobile vaccination units, engaging Indigenous communities to advance vaccine rollout, and reaching vulnerable populations through community-based vaccination efforts
    •  Ontario:
      • Canada Health Transfer one-time top up = $1,550,847,000
      • Vaccine Rollout Support = $387,712,000

Thursday, July 8, 2021:

  • Over Half of Ontario Adults Now Vaccinated with Second DoseNews Release
    • More than half of all adults in Ontario have now received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
    • The vaccine rollout continues to reach all individuals aged 12 and over with first and second doses, while the province prepares for Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen
    • Health care workers across the province have administered more than 16 million doses since the start of the rollout, with Ontario ranking as one of the world’s leading jurisdictions for population percentage to have received their first dose
    • To date, more than 78% of adults aged 18 and over have received at least a first dose and more than 51% have received both doses, ensuring the strongest possible protection against COVID-19
    • To further increase local vaccine uptake, the province is continuing to work closely with public health units, community organizations and other key stakeholders to ensure priority populations from Phase One and Phase Two of the vaccine rollout are able to access their first and second dose appointments and to address other barriers to vaccination
    • Targeted strategies include mobile clinics, community-based pop ups, dedicated clinic days for youth as well as people with disabilities, townhall meetings in multiple languages, and services such as transportation, translation, and drive-through clinics
    • As part of the province’s continued effort to protect hot spot communities with high Delta variant transmission, targeted supports including community and workplace clinics as well as pop-up teams and additional vaccination staff have been administering COVID-19 vaccines in Delta hot spots.
    • Delta hot spot communities received more than 772,000 vaccine doses from June 14 to July 5, in addition to their regular per capita allocations.
    • Delta hot spot public health units have been successful in managing Delta variant outbreaks through a combination of testing, tracing, and isolating, as well as an extra push to get their populations fully vaccinated.
    • Vaccination is Ontario’s best protection against further Delta outbreaks across the province.
    • All vaccines provided as part of Ontario’s vaccine rollout provide high levels of effectiveness against hospitalization and death from COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant.
    • Between May 15 and June 12, 2021, more than 83% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario were individuals who had not received either dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, more than 15 per cent had received one dose, and approximately one per cent had received both doses.

Monday, July 5, 2021:

  • Government of Canada funds three new projects to encourage COVID-19 vaccination in Canada – News Release
    • The Government of Canada is taking action to make sure every Canadian who wants a vaccine  get one, while also closing the gap among populations with lower vaccine uptake
    • The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced three new projects receiving funding through the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF) to support vaccination efforts across Canada
    • These projects will provide health care workers with the tools, training, and evidence-based information they need to promote and counsel others on the importance of COVID-19 vaccines
    • Indigenous Primary Health Care Council will receive funding to develop and implement educational outreach sessions and resources for non-Indigenous health care providers so they can better promote vaccine uptake among Indigenous clients in their families in a culturally safe and trauma-informed way
    • University Health Network will receive funding to develop COVID-19 vaccine education initiatives specifically for personal support workers that will build their confidence in vaccines and their capacity to effectively counsel and support their colleagues, communities, and clients/patients to make informed COVID-19 vaccine choices
    • Women’s College Hospital will receive funding to educate and build the capacity of non-physician health care practitioners and other essential workers in long-term care facilities and home care settings as vaccinators and vaccine promoters
    • This project will provide them with the tools, training and evidence-based information they need to get vaccinated and become COVID-19 vaccine advocates at work and at home

Friday, July 2, 2021:

  • Youth Aged 12-17 Across Ontario Eligible for Accelerated Second DoseNews Release
    • As the province moves to Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen, Ontario is accelerating second dose eligibility to all children and youth aged 12 to 17 to provide them with a strong level of protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and support a safe return to school in September
    • Starting on Monday, July 5, 2021 at 8:00 am, youth aged 12-17 across the province will be eligible to book an accelerated second dose appointment to receive the Pfizer vaccine through the provincial booking system, directly through public health units that use their own booking system, and through participating pharmacies
    • During the week of June 21, 2021, the province administered more than one million doses in four days
    • Notably, 26,771 doses were administered in a single day at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena Clinic, setting a North American record
    • To date, the province’s public health units, mass vaccination clinics, hospital sites, pharmacies and primary care providers have administered over 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with more than 77% of adult Ontarians having received their first dose and more than 42% fully immunized
    • To continue to protect against the Delta variant the province continues to provide targeted supports to Delta hot spots
    • Since last week, provincially supported mobile teams have begun returning to community and workplace sites to support second dose clinics in Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Toronto, Peel and York region hot spots
    • Two pop-up teams and additional vaccination staff are also helping to accelerate first and second doses in priority communities in Waterloo Region
    • A total of 230,000 additional doses were provided to Delta hot spots over the past weeks to accelerate vaccinations and further protect these communities

Friday, June 25, 2021:

  • All Ontarians Aged 18+ Becoming Eligible for Accelerated Second Doses – News Release
    • With more than 76% of Ontarian adults having received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and over 30% fully immunized, Ontario is accelerated second dose eligibility to all individuals aged 18 and over across the province
    • Starting Monday, June 28, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., all Ontarians aged 18 and over who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine will be eligible to book an appointment to receive their second ahead of schedule
    • This will accelerate second dose eligibility for approximately 1.5 million Ontarians
    • The province continues to take action to further protect Delta hot spots by accelerating second doses and expanding second dose coverage
    • Between June 14-23, more than 1,090,000 doses have been administered to people living in Delta hot spot public health units, and a total of 230,000 additional doses were provided to Delta hot spots for the week of June 21st, 2021
    • Starting this week, provincially supported mobile teams have begun returning to community and workplace sites to support second dose clinics in Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Toronto, Peel and York region hot spots
    • Two pop-up teams and additional vaccination staff are also helping to accelerate first and second doses in priority communities in Waterloo
    • Beginning Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., youth aged 12-17 who live in a Delta hot spot (Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Peel, Porcupine, Simcoe-Muskoka, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York public health units) are eligible to book an accelerated second dose appointment through the provincial booking system, directly through public health units that use their own booking system, and through participating pharmacies
    • In all other public health units, second doses for youth remain as they are currently booked at this time
    • To support a safe return to school in September, the province will be looking to accelerate youth second dose bookings following individuals aged 18 and over

Thursday, June 24, 2021:

  • COVID-19 Science Advisory Table for Ontario: Strategies to Support Ontarians’ Capability, Opportunity, and Motivation for COVID-19 Vaccination Science Brief
    • As of June 12, 2021, over 7 million (more than 51%) Ontarians have been vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 1 million have received two doses
    • Most Ontarians report wanting to get a COVID-19 vaccine; however, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 requires more than motivation alone
    • Behavioural science-informed strategies can address capability and opportunity barriers facing people who are already motivated to get vaccinated to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.
    • These strategies will be key to achieving the goal of a maximally vaccinated population. Among those with lower vaccine confidence, further addressing known motivation-related barriers can help support Ontarians in reaching the decision that is right for them.
    • This includes leveraging trusted sources (such as health care professionals and community leaders) to address concerns about the speed of vaccine development and potential side effects, implementing supports to increase ease and opportunity for each dose, and employing effective communication (i.e., articulating when, where, and how) around available supports to enable capability and opportunity.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021:

  • Ontario Providing Accessible Rides to COVID-19 Vaccination SitesNews Release
    • The Ontario government is investing $3.7 million in a partnership with the Ontario Community Support Association to help people with disabilities, including seniors with mobility issues, get to and from vaccination sites so they can get their shot and help stop the spread of COVID-19
    • The Accessible Drive to Vaccines program will ensure that anyone who wants a vaccine is able to by connecting eligible individuals with staff and volunteers who will drive them to and from local vaccination sites across the province
    • This include individuals who have not yet received their first shot, or anyone who may require additional support to access their second
    • Individuals must have a vaccine appointment booked for the date of transportation requested
    • Eligible individuals must be a person with a disability within the meaning of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
    • One caregiver or support person will also be permitted to accompany the person on this accessible transportation

Monday, June 21, 2021:

  • Region of Halton News Release: Halton Scales up Moderna Doses as Federal Pfizer Supply Delayed
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Government of Canada’s first phase to easing border measures for travellers entering Canada – News Release, Backgrounder
      • The Government of Canada is the details of the first phase of its approach to easing border measures for travellers entering Canada
      • These cautious adjustments are now possible because of the successes of the vaccine roll out in Canada and Canadians following public health measures
      • Beginning July 5, 2021 at 11;59 PM, EDT, fully vaccinated travellers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on day-8
      • In addition, fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel
      • To be considered fully vaccinated, a traveller must have received the full series of a vaccine – or combination of vaccines – accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada
      • Currently those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
      • Travellers can receive their vaccine in any country and must provide documentation supporting their vaccination in English, French or with a certified translation
      • For these new measures to apply to them, fully vaccinated travellers must still meet all other mandatory requirements, including pre- and on-arrival testing
      • Continued testing will allow public health experts to keep monitoring positivity rates at the border, monitor for variants of concern, and make further adjustments to border measures as needed
      • Fully vaccinated travellers must also be asymptomatic, have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation, and provide COVID-19 related information electronically through ArriveCAN prior to arrival in Canada
      • They must still present a suitable quarantine plan, and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine
      • As with all other exempt travellers, they will be required to follow public health measures in place, such as wearing a mask when in public, keep a copy of their vaccine and test results, as well as a list of close contacts for 14 days after entry to Canada
      • For travellers who are not fully vaccinated, there are no changes to Canada’s current border measures
      • They must continue to adhere to the current testing and federal quarantine requirements, which have been effective in reducing importation and transmission of COVID-19 and variants in Canada and provide COVID-19-related information electronically through ArriveCan before arriving in Canada.
      • Unvaccinated air travellers must also book a three-night stay at a government-authorized hotel before their departure to Canada
  • OTHER NEWS
    • GTHA Mayors and Chairs Encourage All Residents to get fully vaccinated with the vaccine dose available – News Release
      • All the GTHA municipalities continue to make excellent progress getting people vaccinated and continue to see a decline in COVID-19 case numbers
      • This progress is thanks to all residents who are stepping forward to get vaccinated – first and second doses – and who have followed the public health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19
      • We are encouraged by the fact the province has indicated it may allow personal service settings to open earlier than July 2 and understand they are reviewing this daily with the health and science advisors as we move towards the beginning of Step 2 of reopening
      • Steadily improving vaccination numbers offer encouragement this could be considered as being consistent with safety
      • As vaccine clinics across the GTHA move to offer Moderna and Pfizer vaccine interchangeably, the Mayors and Chairs encourage residents to get vaccinated with the vaccine available and offered to them and not vaccine shop
      • Vaccines are offered only in a way that is completely safe and decisions in this regard are made totally on the basis of available supply
      • Our public health officials have been clear: Both Pfizer and Moderna brands are mRNA vaccines and are extremely effective against COVID-19 transmission
      • These Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are interchangeable, equally effective and safe for everyone over 18 years
      • We encourage residents who have an appointment to get vaccinated and please keep that appointment
      • We need every resident to get fully vaccinated as quickly as possible to make sure we are prepared to confront the Delta variant and get on with reopening our Region
      • The Mayors and Chairs also discussed the backlog created by the lengthy period during which courts have been closed and look forward to necessary provincial actions to address this

Thursday, June 17, 2021:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Accelerated Second Dose Eligibility Continues Ahead of ScheduleNews Release
      • With a majority of Ontario adults having received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and over three million doses of the Moderna vaccine arriving in June, the province is continuing to accelerate its vaccine rollout by expanding eligibility for second doses ahead of schedule.
      • With a majority of Ontario adults having received their first dose of the vaccine, providing a strong level of protection from COVID-19, the province is accelerating eligibility to book a second dose appointment as follows:
        1. As of Monday, June 21, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., all Ontarians who received their first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine on or before May 9, 2021 will be eligible to book or rebook their second dose appointment at a shortened interval.
        2. As of Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., individuals who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 30, 2021 and who live in the catchment area of one of the 10 public health units identified as Delta hot spots (Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Peel, Porcupine, Simcoe-Muskoka, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, and York public health units) will be eligible to book or rebook their second dose appointment at a shortened interval.
        3. Starting the week of June 28, 2021 (days / sequence to be confirmed) all Ontarians aged 18 and over who have received their first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to book their second dose appointment. The appointment will be scheduled at least 28 days after the first dose, per the recommended interval.
      • Expanding the number of Delta hot spots and rapidly expanding second dose coverage in these areas will help to minimize the risk of the variant’s spread throughout the province.
      • In addition, effective June 14, 2021, individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are also eligible to receive a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at an interval of eight to 12 weeks, with informed consent. This can include a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine.
      • Ontario’s allocation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine meant to arrive during the first two weeks of July will be lower than initially projected (decreased from approximately 885,000 to 348,000 doses) and is planned to catch up during the last two weeks of July. The government will adjust and mitigate any impacts of this decrease to the provincial vaccine rollout.
      • The province will continue to expand eligibility for accelerated second doses across Ontario as additional vaccine allocations and shipment timelines are confirmed by the federal government.
      • From May 7 to June 17, more than 50 provincially supported mobile and pop-up clinics have administered over 86,000 vaccines at workplaces and community hubs in Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Toronto, Peel and York region hot spots, working closely with public health units. Mobile clinics are returning to these sites to focus on second doses beginning the week of June 20. Provincial mobile teams will also assist Region of Waterloo Public Health as it works toward preventing the spread of the Delta variant by helping to administer first and second doses to priority populations in COVID hot spots.
      • Individuals who are eligible to receive an accelerated second dose are invited to schedule their appointment through the provincial booking system, directly through public health units that use their own booking system, and through participating pharmacies. Select primary care providers will also be reaching out to book appointments.
      • All vaccines provided as part of Ontario’s vaccine rollout provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant. In addition, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has confirmed that a mixed vaccine schedule can be completed safely and is effective. To ensure maximum protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, Ontarians are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they can and to receive their second dose within the recommended interval.
    • Question Period:
      • In the U.S. some venues will only allow people who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA approved vaccine, what about people who have been fully vaccinated with Astra Zeneca? Solicitor General Jones said that Premier Ford has been in discussions this week with the Federal government regarding the reopening of the border and that he is working to ensure consistency in the requirements. They are working to ensure that Canadians we have been fully vaccinated with Astra Zeneca, have the same rights as people who have been vaccinated with other Health Canada approved vaccines.
      • Will guidance be issued for people who have been fully vaccinated? Minister Elliott said that guidelines would be released about what people can do in all three situations – not vaccinated, single dose, fully vaccinated.
      • How will you avoid the problems that were experienced this week on the Provincial booking system? Minister Elliott, “we are very fortunate that so many people want to get vaccinated.” She thanked the people of Ontario. They are working with the Public Health Units to make sure that as eligibility opens up that appointments are available.
      • Ottawa doesn’t have enough vaccine supply to keep up with current eligibility. Solicitor General Jones  and Premier Ford spoke with Mayor Watson this week. When Public Health Units deplete their supplies (use up what’s in their freezers) the Province will send them sufficient supplies. On their weekly calls with PHUs, they are being told they must use up the supply they have. “Don’t keep supply in the freezer.” She went on to say they have “confidence that larger supplies will be coming from the federal government.”
  • NEWS ARTICLES
    • Vaccine committee says provinces should give AstraZeneca recipients a different vaccine for second dose Article
      • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is recommending the provinces stop administering the AstraZeneca vaccine in most cases — even as booster shots for people who’ve already received first doses of the product.
      • NACI said Thursday that AstraZeneca recipients should instead receive a second dose of an mRNA vaccine, like the ones offered by Pfizer and Moderna.
      • “An mRNA vaccine is now preferred as the second dose for individuals who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine, based on emerging evidence of a potentially better immune response from this mixed vaccine schedule,” NACI said in a statement released today. The “mixed vaccine schedule” refers to the practice of using different products for the first and second doses.
      • NACI said there is also a risk of developing VITT after receiving a second dose of AstraZeneca.
    • As calls grow for a travel plan, minister says proof-of-vaccine system unlikely until the fallArticle
      • Canada doesn’t expect to have its national proof-of-vaccination system fully operational until the fall and will continue to only recognize vaccines authorized by Health Canada, says Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
      • The news comes as questions swirl around the federal government’s plan for vaccine passports, and how it will ease travel restrictions, including hotel quarantine requirements, for people who are arriving here and fully vaccinated — a move that was promised last week.
      • In an interview with the Star, Alghabra said details have not been finalized but the plan is “we’re only accepting certificates of the four accredited vaccines in Canada. So Pfizer, Moderna AstraZeneca, and Johnson (and) Johnson.”
      • He also confirmed what the Star reported last week, that Ottawa is not looking at immediately issuing so-called “vaccine passports” yet, but rather looking to verify the provincial vaccination certificates that Canadians may already have, and allowing inbound travellers to upload those into the ArriveCAN app.
      • He said vaccination certification will be phased in over two steps: first using the ArriveCAN app, and then later developing technology that connects to “provincial databases, but respects the privacy of the individual.”
      • The federal Liberal cabinet was expected to sign off Thursday morning on the initial plan for how to relax border measures for travellers who are fully vaccinated.

Monday, June 14, 2021:

  • Ontario Accelerates Second Doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine – News Release
    • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, including the Ontario Science Advisory Table, is further accelerating the second dose interval for individuals who received their first dose of an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to eight weeks, with informed consent, from 12 weeks.
    • With informed consent, individuals can choose between a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine, at an eight to 12-week interval, recognizing that while waiting 12 weeks helps to ultimately provide more protection, some may choose to receive their second dose sooner to have the increased protection provided by a second dose earlier. All of these options provide protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and have been deemed safe.
    • This decision is based on emerging clinical evidence about the administration of two doses of different vaccines, as supported by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Evidence from multiple studies indicates that mixing of COVID-19 vaccines (receiving an mRNA vaccine after an AstraZeneca vaccine) at dosing intervals between eight and 12 weeks is safe and demonstrates a beneficial immune response. There is evidence that a longer interval between two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine (such as a 12-week interval) provides higher protection.
    • Beginning Monday, June 14, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be eligible to book their second dose appointment at an interval of eight weeks or more with informed consent.
    • Individuals who wish to receive an mRNA vaccine for their second dose can book an appointment through the provincial booking system, through public health units that use their own booking system, or a participating pharmacy. For individuals who wish to receive second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, individuals can contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose.

Thursday, June 10, 2021:

  • Ontario Further Accelerates Second Doses in Delta Hot SpotsNews Release
    • As Ontario prepares to move to Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021, the province is further expanding eligibility for accelerated second doses in Delta hot spots to ensure a strong level of protection against COVID-19 and variants.
    • As of June 10, 2021, the province’s public health units, mass vaccination clinics, hospital sites, pharmacies, and physicians have administered more than 10.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians. Over 73 per cent of adult Ontarians are benefitting from the protection of a first dose of vaccine, and more than 11 per cent are fully immunized.
    • Administration of accelerated second doses to individuals aged 80 and over began on May 31, and expanded ahead of schedule on June 4 to individuals aged 70 and over as well as to individuals who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before April 18, 2021. This acceleration includes more than 151,000 individuals aged 18 to 49 in hot spot communities who were eligible to receive the vaccine at mobile and pop-up clinics beginning in early to mid-April. In addition, this includes more than 706,000 individuals aged 50 and over in hot spots who became eligible to book a first dose on April 9 through the provincial booking system.
    • The province is further expanding eligibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19 variants and protect communities with the highest rates of Delta (B.1.617) variant transmission. Beginning 8:00 a.m. on Monday, June 14, 2021 individuals who live in Delta hot spots in Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York public health units and also received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 9, 2021 will be eligible to book their accelerated second dose appointment through the provincial booking system (for Peel and Toronto public health units), directly through public health units that use their own booking system and through participating pharmacies. Primary care providers will be reaching out to book appointments.
    • Mobile vaccine units supported by province operated pop-ups and employer-led clinics that provided first doses in Peel, Toronto and York public health regions will also begin operating second dose clinics beginning the week of June 20, 2021. Increasing first and second dose coverage in Delta hot spots will help to minimize the risk of the variant’s spread in Ontario, protecting all neighbourhoods provincewide.
    • The province will further expand eligibility for accelerated second doses across Ontario as additional vaccine allocations and shipment timelines are confirmed by the federal government, including the recently announced Moderna vaccines.

Friday, June 4, 2021:

  • Ontario Expanding Accelerated Second Dose Booking to More Ontarians Ahead of ScheduleNews Release
    • Due to an increasing supply of vaccines, the province is inviting individuals aged 70 and over as well as individuals who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) on or before April 18, 2021, to book an accelerated second dose appointment ahead of schedule.
    • Ontario expects to receive approximately 4.7 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in June and approximately 3.54 million doses in July. The province has also received 193,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. This reliable and increased supply of vaccines has allowed the province to rapidly expand access to vaccines in all public health units and through various channels, including mass immunization clinics, hospital clinics, pharmacies and primary care settings, providing convenient access across Ontario.
    • As of 8:00 a.m. on Monday, June 7, 2021, individuals turning ages 70 and over in 2021, as well as individuals who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before April 18, 2021, will be eligible to schedule an appointment to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial booking system and call centre. Some public health units using their own booking system may expand eligibility sooner.
    • Beginning on June 4, 2021, these groups are eligible to receive their accelerated second dose appointment through pharmacies and primary care settings participating in the vaccine rollout. In addition, individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and are opting to receive either a second dose of AstraZeneca or a mRNA vaccine can now schedule their second dose appointment at a participating pharmacy. There are now 327 pharmacies in the Toronto, Windsor-Essex and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington public health units offering the AstraZeneca vaccine, and nearly 450 additional pharmacies offering the Moderna vaccine.

Thursday, June 3, 2021:

  • Ontario Updating AstraZeneca Second Dose Guidance – News Release
    • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is providing updated guidance for individuals who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and who have not yet received their second dose, to allow for the mixing of COVID-19 vaccines if desired. This decision is in alignment with updated guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation.
    • Effective June 4, 2021 and in alignment with NACI’s recommendation, Ontarians who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can choose to either receive a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for their second dose. Both second-dose options available to individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are safe and provide strong protection against COVID-19 and will count as a completed series. These second dose options will be provided at the recommended 12-week interval.
    • Beginning June 4, 2021, individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine 12 weeks ago and who would like their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, can contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose to book an appointment. Individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and are opting to receive an mRNA vaccine have the option to schedule their second dose appointment at a participating pharmacy where the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are administered. Primary care settings and pharmacies may also be reaching out to eligible Ontarians.
    • In addition, expected the week of June 7, 2021, individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and who choose to receive an mRNA vaccine for their second dose can register for a “second dose only” at a 12-week interval through the provincial booking system. Eligible individuals will also be able to schedule their second dose appointment directly through public health units that use their own booking system.
    • Combining similar vaccines from different manufacturers in a series is not a new concept. Different vaccine products have been safely and effectively used to complete vaccine series for influenza, hepatitis A, and others. Individuals are encouraged to speak with a health care professional for help understanding the options available to them so that they can make an informed decision on their vaccination.
    • NACI’s guidance also advises that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be safely interchanged for first and second doses if the original mRNA vaccine is not readily available. Ontarians who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine should be offered the same mRNA vaccine for their second dose. If the same mRNA vaccine is not readily available, another mRNA vaccine can be offered instead to complete the vaccine series.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Interchangeability of Authorized COVID-19 VaccinesRecommendations
      • National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that:
        1. Persons who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine may receive either AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine or an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) for their second dose, unless contraindicated.
        2. Persons who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) should be offered the same mRNA vaccine for their second dose. If the same mRNA vaccine is not readily available or unknown, another mRNA vaccine can be considered interchangeable and should be offered to complete the vaccine series
      • What you need to know:
        1. This is not a new concept. Similar vaccines from different manufacturers are used when vaccine supply or public health programs change. Different vaccine products have been used to complete a vaccine series for influenza, hepatitis A, and others.
        2. Current evidence suggests a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by a second dose of mRNA vaccine(Pfizer-BioNTech was used in studies)has a good safety profile at shorter (4-week) and longer (8-to 12-week) intervals.
        3. There is a possibility of increased short-term side effects when using mixedCOVID-19 vaccine schedules, including headache, fatigue and feeling generally ill. This was particularly noted with a short interval of 4 weeks between the first and second dose. These side effects are temporary and resolve without complications.
        4. The rate of VITT after the second dose of AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine appears to be lower than with the first dose but has increased over time, with current estimates of approximately 1 per 600,000 people vaccinated.
        5. There is evidence that providing an mRNA vaccine after AstraZeneca vaccine will boost the immune response, which is what we expect from a second dose.

Monday, May 31, 2021:

Friday, May 28, 2021:

  • Ontario Accelerates Rollout of Second Shots Targeting a Two-Dose SummerNews Release, Backgrounder
    • Ontario has reached a key milestone in its fight against COVID-19, having achieved its target to administer first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over ahead of schedule. Ontario is also preparing to roll out the eligibility for accelerated second dose appointments starting with individuals aged 80 and over, beginning on May 31, 2021. If there is sufficient vaccine supply, it is anticipated that the majority of Ontario residents who choose to receive the vaccine will be able to be fully vaccinated by the end of summer.
    • With over 8.6 million doses administered, and over 8 million people having received at least one dose, the province has reached its target to administer first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.
    • With two-thirds of the adult population having received at least one dose, Ontarians have been provided with a strong level of protection against COVID-19. Now Ontario is beginning to accelerate second doses for all Ontarians. While the interval between first and second doses can be up to 16 weeks, Ontario will begin to offer second dose appointments at an earlier interval, based on availability of vaccines. The timing of second dose appointments may vary based on local considerations, vaccine supply and the date of first dose appointment.
    • The following is an anticipated schedule for eligibility to book a second dose appointment based on confirmed supply:
      • Week of May 31: individuals aged 80+
      • Week of June 14: individuals aged 70+
      • Week of June 28: individuals who received their first dose between the week of March 8 to April 18, on a “first-in, first-out” basis. For example, this included individuals with the highest-risk health conditions and special education workers.
      • Week of July 19: individuals who received their first dose between the week of April 19 to May 9, on a “first-in, first-out” basis. For example, this included individuals aged 50 and over, as well as individuals with high-risk health conditions.
      • Week of August 2: individuals who received their first dose between the week of May 10 to May 30, on a “first-in, first-out” basis. For example, this included individuals who cannot work from home and individuals who have at-risk health conditions.
      • Week of August 9 to 16: individuals aged 12 to 25
      • Week of August 9: individuals who received their first dose from the week of May 31 onwards on a “first-in, first out” basis, respecting the recommended intervals.
    • Individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from March 21 onwards will be eligible to receive a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from May 31 onwards at a 12-week interval, with appointment dates based on the timing of their first dose.
    • Ontarians who have had their first dose and are eligible for an accelerated second dose may be able to return to the same site or channel where they received their first dose for their second dose appointment, or may choose to book an appointment at a different site or channel. Second dose appointments can be rebooked through the provincial booking system and through pharmacies. For those in public health units who use their own booking system, or who received their doses from the primary care provider or through a pop-up clinic, more information will follow on how and when second dose booking and rebooking will be available. Second dose appointments can also be booked (without a first appointment) in the provincial booking system.
    • The province will provide further guidance based on advice expected shortly from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) with respect to administering doses of two different vaccine types. This advice will be provided in advance of the 12-week interval when most people are needing to receive their second dose.
    • To ensure as many youth as possible are fully vaccinated before the start of the school year, the province expects to provide a first dose to all willing youth aged 12 to 17 before the end of June, and a second dose before the end of August 2021.
    • As of Friday, May 28, 2021, more than 300 additional pharmacies across the province will begin offering the Pfizer vaccine, and more than 370 pharmacies began offering the Moderna vaccine as of Tuesday, May 25, 2021. Visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a pharmacy offering a COVID-19 vaccine and to book an appointment.

Friday, May 21, 2021:

  • Ontario Proceeding with Second Dose Administration of AstraZeneca – News Release
    • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts, is proceeding with second dose administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, beginning with those who received their first dose of the vaccine between March 10 and March 19, 2021.
    • For a limited time during the week of May 24, individuals who received their first dose of AstraZeneca during the period of March 10, 2021 to March 19, 2021 may opt for an earlier dose interval of 10 weeks with informed consent. Choosing to receive the second dose of AstraZeneca at the 10-week interval is safe and provides strong protection against COVID-19. This opportunity is being made available to ensure every vaccine dose possible is used to protect Ontarians during the effective delivery period.
    • Eligible individuals are encouraged to contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose and can book an appointment beginning the week of May 24. This will begin in the regions where the AstraZeneca vaccine was initially launched in pharmacies (Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington and Hamilton, Toronto, Guelph, Peterborough, Simcoe-Muskoka, and Peel) in March 2021. Primary care settings and pharmacies may also be reaching out to eligible Ontarians.
    • Nearly one million Ontarians aged 40 and over received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose between March 10, 2021 and May 11, 2021. Data from the UK strongly suggests a much-reduced risk of VITT in second doses of AstraZeneca – one in 600,000. Based on this evidence, the province is committed to ensuring Ontarians who received the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose, and who do not receive their second dose at the 10-week interval during the week of May 24, will have the ability to receive a second dose of AstraZeneca within the recommended interval of 12 weeks. The province is working with primary care providers and pharmacies to ensure second dose appointments are scheduled in advance of the 12-week interval, and will provide further information on how individuals who received their first dose of AstraZeneca can book a second dose appointment in the near future.
    • The province is also looking closely at available data and evidence from a clinical trial in the UK evaluating the administration of two doses of different vaccines and has requested direction from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
    • The province will provide further guidance with respect to administering doses of two different vaccines in the near future and in advance of the 12-week interval when most people are needing to receive their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. When the time comes to receive a second dose, everyone who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will receive either an AstraZeneca or mRNA vaccine for their second dose.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Booking Expanding to Youth 12+ Ahead of ScheduleNews Release
    • Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to expand, with youth aged 12 and over eligible to book their appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning this weekend.
    • As of 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 23, 2021, youth aged 12 and over across Ontario will be eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine. To book an appointment online, these individuals must already be 12 years old as of the date of their booking.
    • Individuals who are not 12 years old on Sunday, May 23, 2021 can book an appointment for a later date through the provincial call centre or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized by Health Canada for use in individuals aged 12 and over. In addition, the province is encouraging eligible family members who have not received a vaccine to attend these clinics to get youth and their families vaccinated as quickly as possible.
    • On May 18, 2021, select public health units began providing vaccines to those aged 12 and over in pop-up and mobile clinics, as well as for walk-in appointments where the Pfizer vaccine is offered. This has included First Nations, Inuit and Métis clinics that offer the Pfizer vaccine. Clinic times for youth are also planned for the weeks of June 14 and 21, 2021.
    • Due to the unexpected change in Provincial direction for vaccinations, Halton Region’s booking system for youth aged 12+ will available starting Monday, May 31.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021:

  • Health Canada authorizes more flexible storage conditions for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccineStatement
    • Today, Health Canada authorized a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech to allow its COVID-19 vaccine to be stored at regular refrigerated temperatures (2-8°C) at the point of use for up to one month. This change means that there will be more storage options available for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which will allow for more flexibility in distribution plans.
    • Health Canada received the application from Pfizer-BioNTech to change the storage conditions of its COVID-19 vaccine on May 10, 2021. After conducting a thorough review of the submission, the Department determined that undiluted COVID-19 vaccine remains stable when stored at standard refrigerated temperatures for 31 days.

Monday, May 17, 2021:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Booking Expanding to Ontarians 18+ Ahead of Schedule – News Release
    • As the pace of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to accelerate with 2.2 million doses scheduled to arrive this week, the government is extending booking eligibility at mass immunization clinics to individuals aged 18 and over. This high number of doses is due to an early delivery of the week of May 24 shipment, to accommodate the long weekend, and is an opportunity for the province to offer an appointment to receive the vaccine to more Ontarians ahead of schedule.
    • As of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, individuals aged 18 and over in 2021 across Ontario will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. On May 3, 2021, the government expanded booking eligibility to those 18 and over in 2021 and who live in one of the 114 hot spot communities – Halton Region L9E.
    • Individuals who are 17 years old and are turning 18 in 2021 will also be eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment only for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized by Health Canada for use in youth aged 12 and over. The provincial booking system will note which clinics are not offering vaccines for those who are 17 years old.
    • In addition, the province continues to work with public health units, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and boards of education to ensure youth in Ontario between 12 and 17 years of age will be eligible to book an appointment through the provincial booking system beginning the week of May 31, 2021, to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. We are also working to encourage eligible family members who have not received a vaccine to attend these clinics to get youth and their families vaccinated as quickly as possible. As of Tuesday, May 18, 2021, public health units may choose to provide vaccines to those aged 12 and over in pop-up and mobile clinics, as well as for walk-in appointments where the Pfizer vaccine is offered. This will include First Nations, Inuit and Métis clinics that offer the Pfizer vaccine. There will also be dedicated clinic times for youth during the weeks of June 14 and 21, 2021.
    • As of May 16, 2021, at 8:00 p.m., over 7.2 million vaccine doses have been administered across the province, with over 93 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over and more than 92 per cent of residents aged 75 to 79 having received at least one dose. More than 55 per cent of the population aged 18 and over have received at least one dose and more than 432,000 Ontarians are fully immunized, including 96 per cent of long-term care residents.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021:

  • Over 50 per cent of Ontario Adults Receive First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine – News Release
    • Ontario has administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to over 50 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over. Over one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario since the start of May, and the province remains on track to have administered first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.
    • To help decrease COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations, the Ontario government committed to allocating 50 per cent of vaccine shipments (over 500,000 doses) during the weeks of May 3 and May 10, 2021 to hot spot communities, as identified by postal code. As of May 11, at 8:00 p.m., this targeted rollout has allowed over 54 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over, who live or work in a hot spot to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Hot spot communities now have a higher vaccine coverage rate than non-hot spot communities, reversing the trend over the past two weeks.
    • Across all public health units, the government is continuing to expand eligibility and access to the vaccine through channels such as mass vaccinations sites, hospital clinics, primary care settings and pharmacies.
    • Beginning on May 13, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., the province will expand booking eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at mass immunization clinics to individuals aged 40 and over, through the provincial booking system and call centre or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. As of May 11, eligibility through the provincial booking system has also extended to individuals with at-risk health conditions and Group Two of people who cannot work from home.
    • On May 10, the province added high-risk health care workers to the list of those eligible to book their appointment to receive a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than the extended four-month dose interval. High-risk health care workers will be able to book an appointment starting as early as May 14 to receive their second dose of the vaccine through hospital clinics where they received their first dose, with timing dependent on supply availability. The government is working with public health units and hospitals on a plan to ensure that all high-risk health care worker second doses are completed as soon as possible, while ensuring that already-scheduled first dose appointments are respected.
    • In addition, by the end of this week, select pharmacies in all 13 hot spot public health unit regions will begin administering Pfizer or Moderna to individuals 18 years of age and older in hot spot areas and to individuals aged 40 and over in non-hot spot areas. Further expansion of the pharmacy channel will continue throughout the month, with 2,500 locations to begin offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of May. The primary care delivery channel will also continue to expand in collaboration with public health units, with the goal of having primary care settings in all public health regions begin offering the Moderna vaccine by the end of May.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021:

  • Ontario Pauses Administration of AstraZeneca VaccineStatement
    • Today, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the province:
      • “Effective today, Ontario will be pausing the rollout and administration of first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at this time.
    • This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. As of May 8, 651,012 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were administered with a rate of VITT of 0.9 per 100,000 doses administered. 202,873 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine were administered with a rate of VITT of 1 per 100,000 doses administered. However, over last few days, there have been increased reports of VITT, with a rate of 1.7 per 100,000 doses administered. In collaboration with health experts at Public Health Ontario, the Science Advisory Table and our federal, provincial and territorial partners, we are reviewing the data to consider options for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for second doses and more broadly moving forward.
    • Data from the UK points to a much-reduced risk of VITT in second doses of AstraZeneca, and we look forward to providing more guidance in advance of people’s needing to receive their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
    • The decision to pause is also based on the increased and reliable supply of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and the downward trend in cases. We are also seeing early promising results of administering two doses of different vaccines and have asked the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to provide direction on the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Based on the much higher risks of COVID-19 infection recently observed in Ontario including hospitalization, serious illness and death, we maintain that those who received their first dose with the AstraZeneca vaccine did absolutely the right thing to prevent illness, and to protect their families, loved ones and communities.
  • Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) Following Adenovirus Vector COVID-19 Vaccination: Lay Summary – COVID-19 Advisory for Ontario Science Table

Monday, May 10, 2021:

  • Region of Halton News Release: Halton Region Opening new COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Burlington
  • Ontario Continues to Expand Booking Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccines to More Ontarians – News Release, Backgrounder
    • A stable and reliable increase in vaccine supply to Ontario is enabling the government to further expand eligibility to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment throughout the week of May 10, 2021.
    • As of Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., individuals with at-risk health conditions such as dementia, diabetes and sickle cell disease, as well as Group Two of people who cannot work from home including grocery store, restaurant and transportation workers will be eligible to book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • In addition, effective Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., individuals turning 40 and over in 2021 in non-hot spot communities will also be eligible to book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass immunization clinic. Eligible individuals can schedule an appointment through the provincial booking system, or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. This builds upon the eligibility of those aged 18 and over in hot spot areas and is aligned with the rollout announced on May 2, 2021.
    • To make it easier than ever to get vaccinated, the province has expanded use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to pharmacies in hot spot areas. Nearly 80 pharmacy locations are offering the Pfizer vaccine in Toronto and Peel, and up to 60 pharmacies are offering the Moderna vaccine in Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex and York regions to individuals aged 18 and over. Further expansion of pharmacy locations offering COVID-19 vaccines will continue through May.
    • In addition, due to increased vaccine supply the province is adding high-risk health care workers, dialysis patients, and all First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals to the list of those eligible to book their appointment to receive a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than the extended four-month interval. These groups face a greater risk of contracting and suffering serious illness from COVID-19. Eligibility for booking will begin by the end of the week of May 10, 2021 and booking details will be provided in the coming days.
      • Medical First Responders: ORNGE; Paramedics; Firefighters providing medical first response as part of their regular duties; Police and special constables providing medical first response as part of their regular duties

Friday, May 7, 2021:

Thursday, May 6, 2021:

  • Region of Halton News Release: Halton Region Updates COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for May 2021
  • Health Canada authorizes use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of ageStatement
    • Today, Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada for use in children and marks a significant milestone in Canada’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Health Canada received an application to expand the indication of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on April 16, 2021. The vaccine was initially authorized for use in people 16 years of age and older on December 9, 2020.

Monday, May 3, 2021:

  • Halton Region News Release: Halton Region Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for the Month of May
  • National Advisory Committee on Immunization: Summary of updated vaccine statement of May 3, 2021 – Update
    • NACI has updated its Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines to include advice on the use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. NACI has also reaffirmed its recommendation on COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.
    • The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is a single dose, viral vector vaccine authorized for use in Canada for adults 18 years of age and over. Health Canada has determined that it is a safe and effective vaccine.
    • At this time and based on current evidence, NACI recommends the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to individuals 30 years of age and older without contraindications, if the individual does not wish to wait for an mRNA vaccine and if the benefits outweigh the risk for the individual.
    • As a single dose vaccine, the Janssen vaccine may be better suited for populations that are harder to schedule for a second dose (e.g., mobile populations and certain hard to reach populations).
    • NACI recommends that a complete vaccine series with a COVID-19 vaccine (preferably with an mRNA vaccine) may be offered to pregnant individuals in the authorized age group if a risk assessment deems that the benefits outweigh the potential risks for the individual and the fetus, and if informed consent includes discussion about the evidence of the use of COVID-19 vaccines in this population.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Ontario Expands COVID-19 Vaccination Booking for More People – News Release
      • Due to a stable and reliable increase in vaccine supply, this week, the Ontario government will further expand booking eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination appointments across the province.
      • As of Monday, May 3, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., individuals who are 18 and over in 2021 and live in one of the 114 hot spot communities (Halton L9E) will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial online booking system or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. This expansion of eligibility will support the government’s strategy of allocating 50 per cent of vaccine allocations to hot spots the weeks of May 3rd and 10th.
      • In addition, beginning Thursday, May 6, 2021, at 8:00 a.m. the following groups throughout the province will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, through the provincial online booking system and call centre or directly through public health units that use their own booking system:
        1. Individuals turning 50 and over in 2021;
        2. Individuals with high-risk health conditions;
        3. People who cannot work from home who fall under Group One (including remaining elementary and secondary school workers); and
        4. First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals in addition to the other channels previously available to book their appointment.
      • In addition, priority populations who have been only able to book via the provincial call centre will now also be able to book online, including individuals with the highest risk health conditions, child care workers in licenced child care settings and education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs.
      • Ontarians who are now eligible to book their vaccine appointment are asked to be patient, as it could take time to receive their vaccination. Public health units are responsible for managing and overseeing the distribution and administration of vaccines for their entire region, and public health units may have different vaccine administration rates based on local context.
    • 40 Per Cent of Ontario Adults Have Received At Least One Dose of the COVID-19 VaccineStatement
      • Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones issued the following statement:
      • “Yesterday we have achieved our goal of administering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 40 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by May 1. With over 4.8 million people having received their first shot, we are one step closer to defeating COVID-19.
      • As of April 30, over 5.2 million doses have been administered across the province, starting with the province’s most vulnerable populations, including long-term care residents. Over 91 per cent of Ontarians aged 80 and over have received at least one dose.
      • Now, with an expected increase in vaccine supply from the federal government, the Ontario government is preparing to ramp up its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to further support at-risk communities. This includes a targeted, time-limited commitment to allocate 50 per cent of upcoming vaccine shipments to hot spot communities to reduce COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in these areas.
      • More predictable supply from the federal government also allows us to continue to expand booking eligibility across the province, with individuals aged 18 and older eligible to book through the provincial booking system as early as the week of May 24, 2021.
      • The best vaccine remains the first one you’re offered, and we strongly encourage everyone to book an appointment as soon as it’s their turn. By doing so, we can protect our families, friends and loved ones, and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Friday, April 30, 2021:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS:
    • Highlights from today’s Premier’s briefing:
      • The Premier held a briefing today. He did not make any announcements.
      • He said that he welcomes the report from the Commission on long term care. “I will not stand here and make excuses and try to pass the blame.” The Premier is committed to doing everything in his power to deliver better homes and better care.
      • By the end of today 40% of Ontario adults will have received their first dose of vaccine.
      • “Not enough is being done to keep variants out of Canada – they didn’t swim here. They got in because of weak borders.” If he had the power the Premier would shut down Pearson.
      • He also spoke about the need to “close the massive loop holes at our land crossings.”
    • Question Period:
      • The Ontario Science Table said three days of sick leave isn’t enough. Why do you think your plan will have and impact? The Premier, “we closed the gap with the three days. We also have on the table increasing the federal program.” He reviewed the Provincial program, three days at up to $200/day and offering an additional $500 /week for four weeks. “This should hopefully get people over the hump.”
      • The Science Table doesn’t agree with choices the government has made. It seems like you are not listening to them when it comes to addressing workplace outbreaks. Premier, “I appreciate everything the Science Table is doing. I also listen to what hospital CAOs are saying and my Chief Medical Officer of Health.” Regarding workplaces the Premier said that the variants are coming into them from “our porous borders.” “You can’t have two sets of rules. One for airport entry and another for land borders.”
      • You promised the best sick day program in North America. Wasn’t that an over blown promise? The Premier said Quebec did not have a better plan. The federal program is currently only offering people minimum wage. He said the Provincial plan offers people $4600/month. “No one else across the country is offering this much.”

Thursday, April 29, 2021:

  • Halton Region News Release: Halton Residents 50+ Who Cannot Work From Home Can Book COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments Starting May 3
  • Ontario Prepares to Accelerate Rollout as Vaccine Supply Increases – News Release, Backgrounder
    • In response to an expected increase in vaccine supply from the federal government, the Ontario government is preparing to ramp up its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to further support at-risk communities. This includes a targeted commitment to allocate 50 per cent of upcoming vaccine shipments to hot spot communities as identified by postal code, to help decrease COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations.
    • Despite an unstable vaccine supply to date, the province has built a strong foundation for its vaccine rollout, with five million doses administered, and over 4.6 million adults having received at least one dose.
    • Approximately 800,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario per week at the start of May, ramping up to 940,000 doses per week by the end of May. This reliable increase in vaccine supply allows the province to further accelerate its vaccine rollout and get more shots into arms.
    • Based on the increased vaccine allocations Ontario is expecting in May, the province will increase the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to hot spot communities by over one million doses through a targeted, time-limited response designed to reduce COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in these areas.
    • During the weeks of May 3 and May 10, 50 per cent of vaccine allocations will be allocated to hot spots targeting mobile teams, pop-up clinics, mass immunization clinics, hospitals, primary care and pharmacies.
    • This approach will not take away vaccines from other public health unit regions, whose allocations will remain the same as previously planned and will increase later in May. Public health units can use local knowledge to ramp up capacity and effectively target hot spots, whether provincially identified or otherwise.
    • The government has developed an anticipated schedule to expand eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine throughout May, with individuals aged 18 and older eligible to book through the provincial booking system as early as the week of May 24, 2021.
    • As the next step in Ontario’s vaccine rollout, effective April 30, at 8:00 a.m., individuals aged 55 and over are eligible to book a vaccine appointment. This same day, a pilot will launch through select pharmacy locations in hot spot communities to administer the Pfizer vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over. Eight stores in Peel and eight in Toronto will participate in this pilot, with each location receiving approximately 150 doses per week to help Ontario continue to grow provincewide capacity to vaccinate as many individuals as quickly as possible. This is expected to expand to additional public health units later in May following evaluation of the program and as supply allows. Pharmacies will continue to use their own booking system for appointments.
    • As of April 28, 2021, at 8:00 p.m., five million vaccine doses have been administered across the province, with over 91 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over having received at least one dose and 38.5 per cent of the population aged 18 and over having received at least one dose. More than 88 per cent of residents aged 75 to 79 have now received their first shot. Over 368,000 Ontarians are fully immunized including 94 per cent of long-term care residents.
    • The following is an anticipated schedule to expand COVID-19 vaccine booking eligibility over the next month, to be further evaluated in advance of each age band drop:
Week of April 26Week of May 3Week of May 10Week of May 17Week of May 24
Allocation Method75% all PHU + 25% to hotspots50% all PHU + 50% to hotspots50% all PHU + 50% to hotspotsAllocation on per capita basis(3)Allocation on per capita basis(3)
Provincial Age BandApril 30: Age band to 55+Age band to 50+Age band to 40+Age band to 30+Age band to 18+
Hotspot Age BandApril 27: Age band to 45+ in hotspots(2)Age band to 18+ in hotspots
Health ConditionsAt Highest Risk Health Conditions – continuesHigh Risk Health ConditionsAt-risk Health Conditions
Cannot Work from HomeApril 29: Licensed Childcare workersCannot work from home Group 1Cannot work from home Group 2
    • (1) – Does not include 116k J&J doses or additional AstraZeneca doses; AstraZeneca eligibility remains at 40+
    • (2) – PHUs can continue to target 18+ in hotspots through alternate channels (e.g., hospital clinics and pop-up clinics)
    • (3) – The per capita allocation will be calculated based on the remaining eligible population in each region to ensure equality of access across the province.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021:

  • Ontario Expands COVID-19 Vaccination Booking to Individuals 45 and Over in Hot Spot Communities – News Release
    • The Ontario government is expanding booking for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to individuals 45 and over in designated hot spot communities in 13 public health units, as identified by postal code, through its provincial booking system. Child care workers in licensed child care settings across the province will also be eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments. (Halton Region L9E)
    • As of 8:00 a.m. today, all individuals who are 45 and over in 2021, living in one of the 114 high-risk neighbourhoods, will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial online booking system and call centre or directly through public health units that use their own booking system.
    • Keeping childcare open is critical to the mental health and well-being of children and in supporting working parents in Ontario. Effective Thursday, April 29, 2021, child care workers in licensed child care settings will be eligible to book an appointment through the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line number at 1-833-943-3900 or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. Eligible workers in licensed child care settings will receive a letter from their employer. This letter must be available at the point of booking and taken to the vaccination appointment. In the coming weeks, eligibility will be expanded to child care workers in unlicensed child care settings across the province.
    • Ontarians who are now eligible to book their vaccine appointment are asked to be patient, as it could take time for them to receive an appointment. Vaccine administration rates are based on supply of vaccines from the federal government, local context and may differ as vaccine supply is delivered across the province. For more information on local vaccine rollout, individuals are encouraged to visit their public health unit’s website.
    • Individuals aged 18 and over are eligible for vaccination through mobile teams and pop-up clinics in targeted hot spots. Find out if you live in a hot spot community by visiting Ontario’s website for a list of designated postal codes. Mobile and pop-up clinics in hot spots for those 18 and older will be promoted locally within their target communities and local public health units.
    • Hot spot communities are located in these 13 public health unit regions: Durham Region Health Department; Halton Region Public Health; City of Hamilton Public Health Services; Niagara Region Public Health; Ottawa Public Health; Peel Public Health; Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit; Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services; Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public Health; Windsor-Essex County Health Unit; York Region Public Health; Toronto Public Health; and Southwestern Public Health.

Monday, April 26, 2021:

  • Region of Halton News Release: Pregnant Individuals can book COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments Starting April 26
  • Federal Government Statement from Health Canada on AstraZeneca and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines produced at Emergent BioSolutions Statement
    • Health Canada is aware of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent inspection of the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, Maryland, which noted multiple areas of concern. Health Canada would like to reassure Canadians that all AstraZeneca vaccines imported into Canada from this facility are safe and of high quality. Janssen vaccines produced at this site have not entered the country.
    • Health Canada has verified that the 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine imported into Canada from this facility meet quality specifications. The Department reviewed test results of all vaccine lots that came into Canada, as well as the company’s quality control steps implemented throughout the manufacturing process to mitigate potential risks of contamination.
    • Janssen vaccines anticipated to come into the country next week do not come from this facility.
  • A Vaccination Strategy for Ontario COVID-19 Hotspots and Essential Workers from the Science Table – Strategy
    • Ontario’s initial mass COVID-19 vaccination strategy in place until April 8, 2021 was based on per-capita regional allocation of vaccines with subsequent distribution – in order of relative priority – by age, chronic health conditions and high-risk congregate care settings, COVID-19 hotspots, and essential worker status.
    • Early analysis of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout reveals inequities in vaccine coverage across the province, with residents of higher risk neighbourhoods being least likely to get vaccinated.
    • Accelerating the vaccination of COVID-19 hotspots and essential workers will prevent considerably more SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths as compared with Ontario’s initial mass vaccination strategy.

Friday, April 23, 2021:

  • Ontario Confirms First Case of Rare AstraZeneca-linked Blood Clotting- Statement
    • Today, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement on the province’s first confirmed case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) in a patient after receiving the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine:
      • “We have confirmed the first case of the rare blood clotting condition known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) in Ontario. The patient is a male in his 60s who had received his first dose of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine. The patient has received treatment and is recovering at home. Additional details will not be publicly released to protect the patient’s privacy.
      • This case marks the fourth case of VITT out of more than 1.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine that have been administered in Canada to date. We will continue to actively monitor the evolving situation and safety of all COVID-19 vaccines with our partners across the country.”
  • Government of Canada secures vaccine supply beyond 2021 – News Release
    • Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that Canada has secured COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer for 2022 and 2023, with options to extend into 2024.
    • The agreement guarantees access to 65 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, with access to up to 120 million more if all options are exercised. In addition to providing booster vaccine doses, the agreement provides flexibility to procure future COVID-19 vaccine formulations from Pfizer, such as those to protect against variants of concern and vaccines developed for children.
    • Importantly, these doses are in addition to the 48 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine arriving before the end of September 2021 as part of Canada’s existing agreement.
  • Statement from the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health (CCMOH) on the use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 VaccineStatement
    • Based on international evidence on VITT, as well the risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19 in Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has updated its recommendations on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The recommendations have been updated based on an assessment of the risk of VITT, COVID-19 exposure risk and the benefits of the vaccine in preventing serious COVID-19 disease for various age groups. NACI has lowered the age threshold for the AstraZeneca vaccine and has provided jurisdictions with considerations that will help us determine how to achieve the greatest benefits from the use of this vaccine. There are no clear risk factors for VITT; it occurs across a range of ages. However, age is a key factor in the risk of serious complications of COVID-19.
    • A complete series with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to individuals 30 years of age and older without contraindications  only if the individual does not wish to wait for an mRNA vaccine AND all of the following conditions apply:
      1. The benefit-risk  analysis* determines  that  the  benefit  of  earlier  vaccination  with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweighs the risk of COVID-19 while waiting for an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine; AND
      2. The benefits and relative risk* and consequences of VITT and COVID-19 for the individual are clearly outlined, factoring in the anticipated waiting time to receive an mRNA vaccine as well as the availability of other effective personal public health measures to mitigate risk  of  COVID-19,  and  the  individual  makes  an  informed  decision  based  on  an understanding about these risks and benefits; AND
      3. There will be substantial delay to receive an mRNA vaccine.

Monday, April 19, 2021:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Ontario Safely Expands Age Eligibility for AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine to 40+Statement
      • Today, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement to expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibility at pharmacies and primary care settings to individuals aged 40 and over:
      • “Starting Tuesday, April 20, 2021, Ontario will offer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at pharmacy and primary care settings across the province.
      • By extending vaccination eligibility for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at pharmacies and primary care settings to individuals aged 40 and over, Ontario will be able to offer the protection of the vaccine to more Ontarians earlier than anticipated. With supply of AstraZeneca available at this time, the expansion of eligibility will also significantly increase access to vaccines in hot spot communities.”

Friday, April 16, 2021:

Monday, April 12, 2021:

  • GTHA Mayors and Chairs call for additional vaccine supplyNews Release
    • As the GTHA faces a third wave and our hospitals work to help people, our municipalities continue to administer all vaccine available from the provincial and federal governments. We remain fully committed to our job as municipalities which is to put as many vaccines into as many arms as we can, as quickly as we can, vaccine supply permitting. As much clarity as possible with respect to vaccine supply is obviously central to our ability to carry out this task.
    • We support the efforts announced by the province to make sure residents in postal code hot spots have increased access to vaccine. We strongly support any action by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to increase vaccine supply right now so that we can vaccinate more people in these hot spot areas on the provincial priority list.
    • We are also very supportive of Premier Ford’s goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of the Ontarians by May 5 and we await further details on how we can collaborate together to make that happen, including on questions of vaccine supply.  We believe that achieving this goal will require increased supply for the GTHA and the deployment of additional human resources.
    • Recognizing the scale of this undertaking mean it will take time, we want residents across the GTHA to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
    • The GTHA mayors and Chairs continue to urge all residents who are eligible to receive a vaccine right now to sign up for their vaccine appointment.

Friday, April 9, 2021:

Tuesday, April 6, 2021:

  • Province of Ontario News Release: Ontario Moving to Phase Two of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan Supporting Rollout by Postal Code in “Hot Spot” Communities
    • Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced that the Ontario government is moving into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a focus on reaching individuals in “hot spot” communities where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods. In addition, this phase will prioritize individuals with the highest-risk health conditions in April 2021. With a steady supply of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government, over nine million Ontarians will be offered their first vaccination between April and end of June 2021. – News Release, Backgrounder: Populations eligible for Phase 2 COVID-19 Vaccination
    • Phase Two is focused on age and at-risk populations to prevent further death, hospitalization and transmission. To support this, Ontario is increasing vaccine allocations to COVID-19 “hot spot” communities across 13 public health units (Halton is one of the 13), targeting historic and ongoing areas with high rates of death, hospitalization and transmission. Delivering vaccines to people who live in these areas is critical to reducing the impact of COVID-19 as quickly as possible, and the Ministry of Health is working with public health units to ensure timely access to vaccines among the identified communities through all available vaccine delivery channels, including pharmacies, mass vaccination clinics, and mobile teams. The province is supporting regions to vaccinate individuals aged 50 and over by postal code in these COVID-19 hot spot zones.
    • In addition, starting as early as April 6, 2021, individuals with the following highest-risk health conditions will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Ontario:
      • Organ transplant recipients;
      • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients;
      • People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis);
      • Haematological malignancy diagnosed less than one year ago;
      • Sickle cell disease;
      • Kidney disease eGFR< 30; and
      • Essential caregivers for individuals in the groups listed above.
    • The province is expecting to reach the majority of this group through hospital clinics by the end of April 2021. Patients in the highest-risk clinical groups will be contacted by their health care providers to set up an appointment for a vaccination. The Ministry of Health is working with Ontario Health, as well as networks like the Ontario Renal Network and other clinical organizations and vaccination partners, to identify and vaccinate these patients and their caregivers as soon as possible.
    • Other groups that will become eligible to receive vaccines as part of Phase Two of the Ontario immunization program include:
      • Individuals with specific health conditions which make them at high-risk or at-risk, as well as some primary caregivers;
      • People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers; and,
      • Certain workers who cannot work from home (e.g., elementary / secondary school staff, food manufacturing workers, high-risk and critical retail workers, and more).
    • Ontario continues to work with public health units to offer vaccines to remaining Phase One populations. Public health units have been directed to consider accessibility issues in their plans and have local solutions, as well as work with community partners to develop executive strategies to remove barriers to access and improve uptake in at-risk communities.
    • As of April 5, 2021, at 8:00 p.m., over 2,621,000 vaccine doses have been administered across the province, with over 85 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over having received at least one dose. More than two-thirds of residents aged 75 to 79 have now received their first shot. Over 322,000 Ontarians are fully immunized, including 92 per cent of long-term care residents.
  • Question Period From Today’s Premier’s Briefing:
    • The Premier was asked to comment on the situation in Hamilton yesterday when hundreds of appointments went unfilled because the provincial booking system could not respond quickly enough to a change requested by the Hamilton Public Health Department. The Solicitor General  said that as of this morning in Hamilton people 60 and older could book an appointment. She went on to say that more people need to book appointments.
    • Is allowing teachers in Niagara to get vaccinated next week allowing people to jump the queue? The Premier did not answer this question directly instead he explained that over 88,000 people 80 and over have not yet booked an appointment. Over 108,000 people 75 to 79, over 280,000 people 70-74 and 618,000 people 65-69 have not booked appointments. He urged people to get their appointments booked. Minister Elliott, explained that the vaccination plan is based on age and risk.
    • When will you be vaccinating people who work in essential workplaces? The Premier said things would be rolled out in the coming days. Their focus is on first the most vulnerable and elderly, then people in hot spots and then high priority essential places of employment. He said they are working on a plan for teachers.
    • You keep talking about how you need more vaccines, but you can’t get appointments filled and there are vaccines sitting in freezers, why can’t this get done faster? Premier said that Ontario has more people vaccinated then anywhere else in the country. Regarding the vaccines in freezers, “what people don’t know is that we just got the 1.3 million doses two days ago.” He explained that it takes time to allocate and distribute them. “Let’s be honest with people, we need more vaccines.”
    • There have been calls to get education workers vaccinated next week, what is your response to this? The Premier said that was an option, “everything is on the table. In the next day or two we will be making recommendations.” Minister Elliott, went on to say that if you make a change you are taking (vaccine) supplies away from seniors. “We are constantly reevaluating.”

Thursday, April 1, 2021:

  • Halton Region News Release: Halton Residents Aged 60+ Can Book COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments Starting April 6
  • Ontario Expands Domestic Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity and Improves Pandemic Preparedness – News Release
    • The Ontario government is partnering with the federal government, the City of Toronto and Sanofi, a leading global biopharmaceutical and vaccines company, to expand its Ontario facility to meet growing demand for flu vaccines, boost Canada’s preparedness for future pandemics and create 300 high-quality jobs.
    • Ontario is investing $55 million through a performance-based loan, toward construction of Sanofi’s $925 million state-of-art vaccine facility to meet growing demand for flu vaccines, specifically for populations at greater risk of influenza. The company is also committing to an average of $79 million a year in research and development in Ontario or more than a half a billion dollars over the life of the agreement. Sanofi will also be leveraging leading scientists in the province giving them the industrial R&D experience that is valuable to companies.
    • The investment will enable Sanofi to bulk manufacture Fluzone® High-Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine, a flu vaccine approved for people 65 years and older, at its historic Connaught site in Toronto. The facility will include industrial scale Formulation, Filling and Packaging, a key requirement for pandemic preparedness.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021:

Wednesday, March 24, 2021:

Sunday, March 21, 2021:

Friday, March 19, 2021:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Highlights from today’s Premier’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, announced that with over 50 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Ontario government is expanding appointments through its online booking system to individuals aged 75 and over, effective Monday, March 22, 2021, ahead of schedule.News Release
      • Ontario began vaccinating individuals aged 80 and over in February, and launched an online booking tool and a call centre to help answer questions and support appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics. Since the provincial booking system was launched on March 15, more than 239,000 appointments have been scheduled for the first and second doses.
      • Ontario is leading the country in the total number of vaccines administered and has fully immunized more individuals than all provinces and territories combined. To date, over 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the province, including over 129,000 doses administered to long-term care home residents. Over 294,000 Ontarians are fully immunized, including over 61,000 long term-care home residents.
      • On March 16, 2021, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) expanded its recommendation for the use of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine to people 18 years old and older. In alignment with NACI’s latest recommendation and Ontario’s Ethical Framework, as of March 22, 2021, participating pharmacies and primary care settings will offer vaccination appointments to individuals aged 60 and over. Eligible Ontarians can contact a participating pharmacy directly to make an appointment. In addition, many primary care providers are directly contacting eligible patients to book an appointment.
      • The province also continues to expand the delivery channels available to administer COVID-19 vaccines, with another 350 pharmacies to be brought on board across the province in the next two weeks bringing the total to approximately 700 locations. It is expected that this number would again be doubled to approximately 1,500 by the end of April. Depending on vaccine supply, retail pharmacies could administer up to 40 per cent of all vaccinations by the end of April. Details on additional locations and the application process for pharmacy participation will be shared in the coming days. In addition, vaccinations in primary care settings will continue in collaboration with public health units.
      • For the month of March, Ontario is expecting to receive 1,454,310 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Ontario received limited allocations of the Moderna and AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD in March, with 483,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine split over three weeks, and 194,500 doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine received the week of March 8.
      • Ontario’s exact allocations and delivery timing for the Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines after March are pending confirmation from the federal government and are not known at this time.
      • Vaccinations with the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine at pharmacies require an appointment to be made in advance. Eligible adults aged 60 and over (if 60 or older as of the day of vaccination or, if will be 60 or older in 2021) who are interested in booking an appointment, can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy and can contact the pharmacy to make an appointment.
    • Question Period:
      • BC has had restrictions in place since the beginning but not the lockdowns we have had in Ontario. Have you asked your team to look at what BC is doing? The Premier said comparing Ontario to BC was like comparing apples to oranges. “We have a denser population. I hear what you are saying. No one wants to open businesses more than me.” Minister Elliott, said each province is doing things differently. She said we are in a “race to get needles into people’s arms.” The variants of concern spread more quickly, which is of concern.
      • Why hasn’t Ontario been able to move quickly on vaccinations? The Premier, “we are kicking butt out there.” He did say we could have taken a different approach, we decided to give both doses to our long term care patients (other provinces did not do that). He again said the issue is with vaccine supply.
      • How concerned are you that the third wave is hitting younger people? Minister Elliott, said they are watching hospital capacity. “We’re ready for an upswing, but we are working to contain it.”
      • You said that the number of people 80 plus that are trying to book vaccination appointments has dwindled. Are you concerned about the coverage in this age group? Minister Elliott said, the response from this age group has been great. “A large percentage of people over 80 have already been vaccinated or have appointments booked.” General Hillier explained that once the bookings for an age range decrease they will begin making appointments for another age group. In the next two weeks 700 pharmacies across Ontario will be offering the AstraZeneca vaccine for those who are aged 60 and over.
      • Are you concerned that people will not want get the AstraZeneca vaccine? The Premier said, Health Canada has confirmed that it is safe and officials in Europe have also confirmed this. He went on to say, “AstraZeneca will keep you out of the hospital and will save your life.” Minister Elliott said, all the vaccines have been validated by Health Canada and NACI. “There is no causal relationship between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots.” General Hillier, “the best vaccine is the one you can get right now.”
      • When will younger co-horts be able to begin booking appointments? General Hillier said, we are currently two weeks ahead of schedule. Two weeks from now they will reassess things and if bookings have slowed down from people 75 and over they will move to the next age group.

Thursday, March 18, 2021:

Monday, March 15, 2021

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Highlights from today’s Premier Ford briefing question period:
      • The Premier was asked several questions about the issues people are having using the Provincial appointment booking portal. Premier, over 45,000 people where able to get through an book appointments. He recommended that if people are having trouble online they should call the 1-888-999-6488 number. He said that immediately after the briefing he will “jump on this.” He said he expected a few bumps in the road with the system, but is “grateful and shocked that the system hasn’t crashed yet.”
      • Why aren’t vaccination clinics running 24/7? Premier said this is due to supply. Once we get more, some clinics will be 24/7.
      • When vaccine supply increases with the 4 month period between doses be changed? Yes.
    • Ontario Launching Provincial Booking System for COVID-19 Vaccines – News Release, Backgrounder
      • (PLEASE SEE LAST BULLET POINT BELOW REGARDING HALTON’S BOOKING SYSTEM.)
      • The Ontario government is launching a provincial booking system and customer service desk to support COVID-19 vaccination appointment bookings. The portal will be live on Monday, March 15 at 8:00 a.m. and will be accepting appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics, starting with individuals aged 80 and older.
      • Beginning today, individuals who will be turning 80 or older in 2021 (born in 1941 or earlier) and wish to make an appointment — or an individual trusted to make an appointment on their behalf — can visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine. On this page, they will be guided to make an appointment through the provincial booking system, or their local public health unit if there is a local public health unit booking system or call centre in place. When booking an appointment, individuals will be asked for information from their green Ontario health card, birth date, postal code and email address and/or phone number. At the time of booking, eligible individuals will schedule their first and second vaccination appointments.
      • Individuals who still have a red and white health card, or who require assistance with booking, can call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line number at 1-888-999-6488 beginning on Monday, March 15.
      • At this time, vaccination appointments are only available for individuals turning 80 or older in 2021 as part of Phase One of Ontario’s vaccine distribution plan. Starting in April, the online booking tool and call centre will extend to additional age-based groups that are part of Phase Two.
      • The province is expecting a high volume of traffic to its online booking system. We know everyone is eager to receive the vaccine, but we are asking those not yet eligible to avoid accessing the booking system or calling the service desk to allow those that are eligible the opportunity to book an appointment.
      • Ontario will support its 34 public health units with the implementation of the new provincial booking system in the ways that best suit their local needs, as their unique populations and sizes result in progress at different speeds.
      • Public health units can continue to use these booking systems if their local systems meet their needs, or transition to the provincial booking system.
      • Halton Region is one of the 16 public health units using their self-established booking tool and self-established call centre.
  • OTHER NEWS
    • Small Urban GTHA Mayors welcome vaccine rollouts across communities News Release
    • GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage all residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible – News Release
      • The Mayors and Chairs are committed to working with the provincial and federal governments to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents across the GTHA. The federal government acquires and supplies COVID-19 vaccine, the provincial government rolls out the vaccine and sets the vaccination framework, and municipalities are committed to doing the on the ground work to get shots in arms. We are ready to ramp up our efforts as supply increases.
      • Right now, municipalities across the GTHA are focused on working with their hospital and healthcare partners to get residents 80-years-old and older vaccinated. Vaccine supply continues to be an issue which constrains our pace but prospects look brighter provided supply numbers are reliable.
      • The Mayors and Chairs strongly encourage all residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and as vaccine supply allows. We recognize that the overall vaccination effort will take time and hope our residents will continue to be mindful of public health guidance including avoidance of St. Patrick’s Day parties later this week.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021:

  • Ontario News Release: Ontario Pharmacies and Primary Care Settings to Begin Offering COVID-19 Vaccinations
  • Highlights from today’s Premier briefing:
    • Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force announced that as vaccine supply increases, the Ontario government is expanding the delivery channels available to administer COVID-19 vaccines to include pharmacies and primary care settings. As of Friday, March 12, over 325 pharmacies will be offering the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine to eligible Ontarians aged 60-64, by appointment only, as part of the vaccine delivery pilot program in specific regions. – News Release
    • “We are about to achieve a major milestone in our battle against COVID-19, by the end of the day we expect to reach the one million mark for doses administered and continue to lead the country in vaccinations completed,” said Premier Ford.
    • With the arrival of 194,500 doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine, select pharmacies will begin booking appointments starting today, March 10, 2021, in three public health unit regions: Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington. The vaccine rollout will be expanded to more pharmacies in other regions of the province as supply increases.
    • All vaccinations available through pharmacies will require an appointment to be made in advance. Eligible adults aged 60-64 (as defined by year of birth between 1957-1961), who are interested in booking an appointment, can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy and can contact the pharmacy to make an appointment.
    • To ramp up capacity for vaccination, the province is working with primary care professionals to offer vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations, such as physician offices, in collaboration with public health units. This initiative will  begin in Hamilton, Toronto, Guelph, Peterborough, Simcoe-Muskoka, and Peel as of Saturday March 13, 2021. Primary care providers will not be taking appointments by request but will be contacting eligible Ontarians aged 60-64 directly to book an appointment starting today, March 10, 2021. They will only be offering the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine at this time.
    • Over 120 mass immunization clinics are planned to open this month across Ontario in addition to sites already open, increasing the province’s vaccine administration capacity to over 150,000 doses per day, dependent on supply.
    • The province will launch an online booking system and a provincial customer service desk on March 15. These supports will help to answer questions and book appointments at mass immunization clinics, starting with those over the age of 80.
    • For the month of March, Ontario is expecting to receive 1,454,310 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 483,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
    • The Premier ended the briefing by asking only people who are 80 and older, or those trying to book an appointment for someone who is 80 or older to use the online booking site and customer service lines. “Don’t panic if the site crashes on Monday.”
  • Question Period:
    • With the pharmacy rollout is there something in place to prevent people from booking more than one appointment? General Hillier, explained that the system shouldn’t allow people to book more than one appointment. But, he did say that it may not be perfect and people may find a way around it. He asked people not to clog the system by booking more than one appointment.
    • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) did speak with Pfizer regarding moving the second dose from 21 days to 4 months. Isn’t there a risk? Minister Elliott, said they are following the NACI recommendations. Long term care home residents however will receive their second dose within 21 days. But, due to the supply she doesn’t expect that too many people will have to be extended to the 4 month period.
    • How many doses will be distributed to family doctors and how many will go to pharmacies? General Hillier, said that 29,500 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine will go to family doctors in the pilot regions. The remainder of the first shipment will then be distributed to the 327 pharmacies, that are expected to do 40 vaccinations per day. Family doctors will be reaching out to their patients to schedule vaccinations, patients should NOT call them to make an appointment.
    • Currently Thunder Bay has the highest number of cases/capita. Is further support coming? Minister Elliott is well aware of the situation in Thunder Bay and has spoken to Minister Hajdu about it and about bringing in more support.
    • Is there enough Astra Zeneca doses to vaccinate all the 60-64 year olds in the pilot? The first shipment of Astra Zeneca is 194,500 doses. There are 1 million people in Ontario aged 60-64.

Monday, March 8, 2021:

  • Government of Canada launches Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge to support increased vaccine confidence – News Release
    • Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect against COVID-19 and other serious infectious diseases. The Government of Canada recognizes that community engagement plays a critical role in building vaccine confidence so everyone has the accurate information they need to make an informed decision on vaccination.
    • To this end, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, announced today the launch of the Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge.
    • Under the Challenge, individuals and/or groups are invited to propose creative ideas for communications campaigns that will reach groups within their communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty finalists will be chosen by an expert panel and given $25,000 to develop their ideas and launch their campaigns. A grand prize of $100,000 will be awarded to one winner at the end of the Challenge period to reinvest in the protection and promotion of public health in their community.
    • Community-driven engagement can more effectively influence vaccine confidence among communities who are underserved and have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The Challenge encourages people to help spread the word about COVID-19 vaccines and increase vaccine confidence through creative, community-driven and culturally sensitive means.
  • GTHA Mayors and Chairs Welcome Additional Supply of COVID-19 VaccineNews Release
    • The Mayor and Chairs are committed to working with their local public health units, hospitals, and community health partners to distributed COVID-19 vaccine to residents. They urge residents to obtain local information on vaccinations from the municipality in which they live, to understand there will be  differences between municipalities in a big region and that all local vaccination efforts are dependent upon vaccine supply.
    • Late last week, the Government of Canada announced additional vaccine supply would be arriving in the coming days and weeks and the Government of Ontario confirmed it would be distributing that vaccine as quickly as possible along with providing extra doses to communities hit hard by COVID-19. The Mayors and Chairs stated that as soon as that supply of vaccine is in hand, they will deliver.
    • The vaccinations work. We are already seeing the benefits of vaccinations in our long-term care and retirement homes. But they must be combined with a continued cautious approach to public health guidance and common sense as this is a battle which is not over yet.
    • During today’s meeting, the Mayors and Chairs also discussed the importance of coordinating our efforts around communications across municipalities and with the province to inform residents about the safety of the vaccines, the importance of being vaccinated when eligible, and how to get vaccinated.
    • The Mayors and Chairs expressed their gratitude for the financial assistance, including transit funding, received primarily form the Ontario Government last week.

Friday, March 5, 2021:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, March 5, 2021 – Speech
      • To date, there have been 878,391 cases of COVID-19, including 22,151 deaths and just over 29,900 currently active cases reported across Canada. Over the past week, an average of 2,866 new cases and 41 deaths were reported daily. At the same time, over 2,100 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day, including about 560 in critical care.
      • To date, almost 1,650 variant of concern cases have been reported across Canada, with the B.1.1.7 variant accounting for over 90 % of these to date. This includes 1,532 B.1.1.7 variants, 114 B.1.351 variants and 3 P.1 variants reported to date in Canada.
      • To date, more than 2.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada. Over the past week, provinces and territories have administered more than 397,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which is the highest number of vaccines administered in a single week since vaccination began in mid-December.
      • Another piece of good news today is that Health Canada has authorised Johnson and Johnson’s  single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Provincial News Release: Ontario Ready to Rollout Phase Two of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan
    • Highlights from today’s Provincial briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force provided details on how the Province will move into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, with a focus on vaccinating populations based on age and risk. This approach is designed to save lives, protect those at risk of serious illness and to stop the virus from spreading. – News Release, Backgrounder
      • With vaccine supply stabilizing and over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government before the end of March, the province to enter Phase Two of its vaccine rollout. Between April 2021 and July 2021, up to nine million Ontarians will be vaccinated.
      • During Phase Two, groups that will receive the vaccine include:
        1. Older adults between 60-79 years of age;
        2. Individuals with specific health conditions and some primary caregivers;
        3. People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers;
        4. People who live in hot spots (Halton Region is considered a hot spot) with high rates of death, hospitalizations and transmission; and,
        5. Certain workers who cannot work from home (the first group includes teachers, workers responding to critical events e.g. police, fire, compliance, second group includes high risk & critical retail workers (grocery and pharmacy)
      • Phase One of Ontario’s vaccination rollout is well underway, with 820,000 doses administered and over 269,000 Ontarians fully immunized. Over 95 per cent of long-term care residents are fully immunized and public health units are working with homes to vaccinate staff and essential caregivers as a priority. Some local public health units, based on local context and capacity, have been able to vaccinate some people aged over 80, before the anticipated timeframe of mid-March. By focusing early vaccination efforts on long-term care residents, combined with public health measures, Ontario has notably rapidly reduced infections and the daily death rates in long-term care homes.
      • Starting March 15th, the province will launch an online booking system and a provincial customer service desk to answer questions and support appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics. This will initially support individuals over the age of 80 as part of Phase One, eventually extending to more groups during Phase Two. While some public health units are currently using their own booking systems to vaccinate individuals aged 80 and over, it is anticipated that the majority of public health units will transition to the provincial booking system after it has launched.
      • NACI has provided the recommendation to extend the vaccination dose interval up to four months for all Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines while maintaining a strong and sustained level of protection from the virus. This news along with the approval of new vaccines will help us to reforecast and maximize the number of people receiving a first dose in a shorter timeframe, pending supply from the federal government. Ontario has accepted and will follow NACI’s recommendations starting March 10th, with some limited exceptions.
      • In addition to hospitals, mobile clinics and mass vaccination clinics, the province is working with the pharmacy sector and with primary care professionals to offer vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations in collaboration with public health units. A pilot for pharmacy vaccine administration is planned for mid-March in select regions, including Toronto, Windsor and the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington region, followed by specific primary care pilots in collaboration with public health units.
    • Question Period:
      • When will all eligible adults get their first vaccine? General Hillier’s goal is to have the first needle in the arm of everyone who is eligible and wants one by the first day of summer.
      • Will people’s second appointment be pushed back now that second doses can be given up to four months later? General Hillier said that they will honour the appointments people have now, but starting March 10, the new timing for second doses will be in place. He said that the research has shown first doses offer a tremendous amount of protection.
      • Once everyone has their first vaccine what will life look like? Dr. Williams, “we anticipate case numbers will drop and we will see movement through the framework.” He said we will see the impact of vaccination as more people get vaccinated. “Ideally once we have everyone vaccinated we may not need a framework.”
      • General Hillier was asked to comment on vaccine wastage that has been reported. The wastage is 2/10 of 1% and is due to the characteristics of the vaccine and not because of what people are or aren’t doing at the vaccination clinics. He said the smaller syringes have helped ensure that the maximum doses are taken from every vial.
      • Family doctors have not received any guidance on the rollout. General Hillier, said the Ministry of Health has an agreement in place with the OMA. Doctors will be assisting and supporting mass vaccination clinics, mobile units and providing vaccinations at their offices. They will be receiving more information in the coming days and weeks.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021:

  • Halton Region News Release: Joseph Brant Hospital Added as Additional Vaccine Clinic for Burlington as Halton’s Online Appointment Booking Portal Opens
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Health Canada allows more flexible storage and transportation conditions for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine – Statement
      • Today, Health Canada authorized a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech to allow its COVID-19 vaccine to be stored and transported at standard freezer temperatures (between -25°C and -15°C) for up to two weeks instead of ultra-cold conditions, facilitating more flexible transportation and local re-distribution of this vaccine.
      • Vials stored at -25°C to -15°C for up to 2 weeks or transported at -25°C to -15°C may be returned one time to the recommended storage condition of -80°C to -60°C.
      • While ultra-cold conditions are still recommended for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, after conducting a thorough review of Pfizer-BioNTech’s latest submission, the Department determined that the COVID-19 vaccine remains stable when transported and stored at standard freezer temperatures for up to two weeks. This means the vaccine continues to be safe and effective and meets Health Canada’s quality standards.

Monday. March 1, 2021:

Friday, Feb. 26, 2021:

  • Health Canada approves use of AstraZeneca vaccine
  • Federal News:
    • Health Canada authorizes AstraZeneca and Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India COVID-19 vaccines – News Release
      • Today, Health Canada authorized two vaccines; the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, and developed in partnership with Oxford University, and, the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
      • These are the first viral vector-based COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada. The vaccines are authorized for use in people over 18 years of age. They are administered as a two-dose regimen and can be kept at refrigerated temperatures (from 2˚ to 8˚C) for at least six months, facilitating distribution across the country.
    • Canada to receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India – News Release
      • Following Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 COVID-19 vaccine, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced today that Canada has secured 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an agreement with Verity Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc./Serum Institute of India.
      • AstraZeneca has licensed the manufacture of its ChAdOx1 vaccine to the Serum Institute. The first 500,000 doses will be delivered to Canada in the coming weeks and will quickly be ready for distribution to the provinces and territories. The remaining 1.5 million doses will arrive by mid-May.
      • The 2 million doses secured through this agreement are in addition to the 20 million doses already secured through an earlier agreement with AstraZeneca. Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine allows the Government of Canada to advance its work with AstraZeneca to finalize delivery schedules for the 20 million doses.

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Highlights from General Hillier’s briefing:
      • Where we are now: 250,000 people have been completely vaccinated (received both doses)
      • More than 600,000 people have received one dose
      • Averaging 15,000-18,000 vaccinations/day. The process is slower because they are taking the vaccine to people.
      • They are revisiting LTC homes and high risk retirement homes to provide residents with their second dose.
      • In the first week of March they will transition out of Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout.
      • With more vaccines being delivered they will be able to complete LTC homes and restart vaccination of front facing health care professionals. Operation Remote Immunity will continue.
      • Public health units throughout the province are collaborating with pharmacies and health care professionals – they know their communities best.
      • The Province has completed the contract with pharmacies where approximately 10-20% of vaccinations will be done.
      • In the third week of  March vaccinations will begin for people 80 + years of age.
      • On March 15 they will launch the online booking portal and customer service line. Only people 80 +, or someone acting on their behalf will be able to book an appointment then. He encouraged people to support their loved ones in making their appointments online.
      • Local public health units are reaching out to 80+ people in their communities now.
      • The Province will be sending flyers to all households. They will also be communicating via briefings, PSAs, through the media and phone calls. PHUs will be communicating about how and when you can book an appointment.
      • He shared the following vaccination schedule: April 15 – 75 + will begin to get vaccinated, May 1 70+, June 65+.
      • When the online booking portal is launched only those 80+ or people acting on their behalf will be able to book appointments. You will be able to book both appointments at the same time.
      • Your postal code will be used to indicate which vaccination clinic you should attend.
    • Highlights from Premier Ford’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities announced that the Ontario government is investing over $115 million to train up to 8,200 new personal support workers (PSWs) for high-demand jobs in Ontario’s health and long-term care sectors. In collaboration with Colleges Ontario, all 24 publicly assisted colleges will offer this innovative, fully funded program starting in April 2021. This is part of the government’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan, one of the largest PSW recruitment and training drives in the province’s history. – News Release
      • The Accelerated PSW Training Program is a tuition-free opportunity for 6,000 new students and is expected to take only six months to complete, rather than the typical eight months. After three months of coursework, and experiential learning in a clinical setting, students will complete the final three months in paid onsite training in a long-term care home or in a home and community care environment. Registration for the program will be available through the Ontario College Application Service and is expected to open in early March.
      • The province is also offering tuition assistance to students who are close to finishing an existing PSW program at one of Ontario’s publicly-assisted colleges. Nearly 2,200 students will be eligible to receive a $2,000 tuition grant to help them complete their studies, as well as a stipend to complete the clinical placement part of their training.
      • Before taking questions the Premier said that Ontario has more people fully vaccinated than the entire country does. He said the main thing holding the process back is the lack of vaccines.
    • Question Period:
      • When you compare Ontario to where province’s like Alberta are in their vaccine rollout, are we not falling behind? Premier, “we are ahead of everyone.” He went on to say that Alberta’s website went up and then crashed, and Quebec has not administered the second dose to anyone yet. “We are focussed on the task at hand.”
      • Can you tell us about the prioritization of essential workers for Phase 2? Premier, “we are focusing on the priority populations now, we are still a ways from that.” The priority now is we need more vaccines.
      • Today in Alberta, people 70 and older can book their appointment, what is the delay in Ontario? Premier, “the population in Alberta is 4 million people, in Ontario it is 16 million people. We have many more residents living in long term care homes and retirement homes than they do.” Minister Fullerton also repeated that we have more people and staff in long term care homes than other Provinces do. “We have the capacity to vaccinate, but we need more vaccines.”

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021:

Friday, Feb. 19, 2021:

  • ONTARIO NEWS RELEASE: Ontario Administers over Half a Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Highlights from today’s Prime Minister’s briefing:
      • The PM said that an updated vaccine delivery schedule would be shared with Premiers
      • Vaccines are his top priority
      • Millions of rapid tests have been sent to the Provinces and Territories.
      • He spoke about a pilot program with 12 employers across the country using rapid tests
      • “What Provinces, cities and Canadians have done over the last few weeks is working, but variants are here. We must continue to follow public health measures.”
      • He is focussed on testing, vaccines and public health measures
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Highlights from today’s Premier’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force provided an update on the Province’s vaccine rollout program. News Release
      • The Ontario government has administered over 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to Phase One priority populations, which now includes adults 80 years of age and older. At the same time, the province is working with public health units to build and expand its capacity to immunize Phase Two populations by increasing delivery networks and preparing a booking solution and customer service supports for mass vaccination clinic registrations. Ontario has administered more vaccines than any other province.
      • The unexpected reductions in supply and delayed shipments in early February forced Ontario to quickly adjust its vaccination plan to accelerate its focus on vaccinating the province’s highest risk resident populations. Last week, Ontario reached its target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to residents of all long-term care homes across the province and has now administered over 167,000 doses to long-term care and retirement home residents.
      • When all reasonable steps have been taken to complete first-dose vaccination offers to all staff, essential caregivers and remaining residents of long-term care, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and adults in Indigenous communities, first-dose vaccinations will be made available, pending supply, to the remainder of Phase One populations, including those ages 80+. Public health units are currently planning for how they will reach this group, with timing slated for early March.
      • The province continues to expand capacity and ramp up efforts for Phase Two of its vaccination rollout, expected to begin in April 2021. Public health units have developed plans to operate mass immunization clinics as soon as enough supply becomes available, as well as continuing to offer mobile clinics to vaccinate our most vulnerable.
      • Ontario is developing an online booking system to support the next phase of vaccination roll-out. A customer service desk will be made available to those who are unable to book an appointment through the online tool. Details will be provided over the coming weeks.
      • Operation Remote Immunity, led by Ornge, is vaccinating adults in the 31 fly-in First Nations communities and Moosonee in Northern Ontario. As of February 17, 2021, over 8,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Sioux Lookout and communities within the Operation’s scope.
      • As the vaccination rollout continues, it remains critically important that all Ontarians stay at home as much as possible and continue following regional public health measures, restrictions, and advice to protect our most vulnerable populations and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
    • Question Period:
      • Can we create herd immunity without vaccinating people under 16?  Minister Elliott, said that other vaccines may be approved that will be suitable for children.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on 7-11’s application to the AGCO.  He said the AGCO is an arm’s length organization. “I want to help restaurant folks. I also believe we have to have convenience and choice. That’s our goal.” He ended by urging 7-11 to expand in Ontario and create more jobs.
      • Are you ignoring the federal modelling data by reopening? Premier, “I respectfully disagree. I never, ever ignore the advice of the medical experts. I have never waivered.” Minister Elliott, “we are not reopening the Province. We are gradually and cautiously transitioning back to the Framework.” She said that the Emergency Break is an available measure if case numbers begin to rise.
      • The PM urged restraint. Was the Federal data not available to you? The Premier, said that the reporter was misleading people by saying the Province is reopening. “You’re making it sound like we’re opening up the doors, everyone’s out there having a good time. If mayors and local medical officers or health want to shut down, they will. I will always listen to health and science and will not waiver.”
      • Is COVAXON, a good name for the online booking site? Solicitor General said that the online portal will be one way to get information about vaccines and where to book appointments. Local public health using will also be providing information.
      • When will 70-60 year olds get vaccinated? General Hillier said that all 80+ people will not be done by the end of March. The next age group will be done in April and May. “Everything depends on vaccine supply.”

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021:

Friday, Feb. 12, 2021:

  • Canada negotiates accelerated delivery schedule for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine – News Release
    • Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that Canada has negotiated an accelerated delivery schedule for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, and will receive all 40 million of its secured doses from Pfizer-BioNTech by the end of September.
    • This means that Canada will receive 2.8 million additional doses of Pfizer between April and June and an additional 6.2 million doses between July and September than was originally scheduled.
    • The Government of Canada has also purchased an additional 4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, bringing the total number of secured doses to 44 million. The additional 4 million doses are expected to arrive by the end of September.
    • Canada is now expected to receive 84-million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by the end of September 2021.

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021:

  • Province News Release: First Round of COVID-19 Vaccinations Completed in All Ontario Long-Term Care Homes
    • The first round of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in every long-term care home across Ontario to eligible residents who wanted one. This goal was achieved despite repeated delays and reductions of vaccine shipments. To date, more than 62,000 long-term care residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 34,000 residents have received their second dose.
    • As the administration of second doses continues, Ontario will maintain the recommended interval of 21-27 days for residents who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021:

  • Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force Update No. 7
    • First doses of Vaccinations of Long-Term Care homes expected to be complete by Feb. 10 — as of Feb. 5, the Province has been able to offer first doses to residents in more than 80% of the homes. Read latest update below from General Hillier and the Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force:

Friday, Feb. 5, 2021:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Highlights from today’s Prime Minister’s briefing:
      • The PM spoke today about vaccines. He assured Canadians, “we are on track to getting the 6 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March,” as per our agreements with them.
      • He reaffirmed everyone who wants to, will get vaccinated by the end of September.
      • The presidents of Pfizer and Moderna have “assured” him that we will get all the doses we are contracted to receive.
      • He acknowledged how tired everyone is with COVID.
      • Health Canada is reviewing three other vaccines, AstraZeneca, Janseen Inc, and Novavax Inc.
      • Changes to land border crossings will be announced soon.
      • In his call with First Ministers yesterday, as Provinces look at reopening their economies, he encouraged the use of rapid testing.
      • “Our plan is working. I want to reassure everyone watching at home. From the beginning we have been there for Canadians and we will continue to be there for them.”
    • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds 26th call with premiers on COVID-19 response – Readout
      • Yesterday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc held the 26th call with Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers to discuss their shared response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • First Ministers discussed the continued vaccine rollout and Minister LeBlanc provided an update on vaccine shipments. In response to questions raised on the call, the Prime Minister assured premiers that the federal government is in regular contact with vaccine manufacturers, including Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca. He noted that he was assured that Canada would receive 2 million doses from Moderna and 4 million doses from Pfizer by the end of March, as the companies committed to in their contracts.
      • The Prime Minister emphasized that Canada has been assured by the European Union that their measures on vaccine exports will not impact vaccines destined for Canada. First Ministers also discussed the importance of further building domestic capacity for vaccine production and the approval of new vaccines by Health Canada.

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021:

  • Provincial Government News Release: Ontario Continues Accelerated Vaccinations of Most Vulnerable Despite Vaccine Delays
  • FEDERAL GOVERMNET NEWS
    • New support to produce COVID-19 vaccines and treatments in Canada – Media Release
      • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Novavax to pursue the production of its COVID-19 vaccine at the National Research Council of Canada’s Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Montréal.
      • The Prime Minister also announced investments to support vaccine, therapeutic, and biomanufacturing projects in Canada. These include:
      • Up to $25.1 million to Precision NanoSystems Incorporated (PNI), a Vancouver-based biotechnology company, to expand our ability to produce ribonucleic acid vaccines and future genetic medicines in Canada. PNI will build a $50.2 million biomanufacturing centre to produce vaccines and therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of diseases such as infectious diseases, rare diseases, cancer and other areas of unmet need.
      • Up to $14 million to Edesa Biotech Inc. (Edesa), a biopharmaceutical company based in Markham, Ontario, to advance work on a monoclonal antibody therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is the leading cause of COVID-19 deaths. Edesa’s $18.7 million project has received Health Canada approval to conduct its phase 2 clinical trials, and has begun administering its treatment to clinical trial participants in Canada.
    • Government of Canada investments in COVID-19 vaccines and biomanufacturing capacity Backgrounder
      • Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, highlighted investments to build Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity and talked about the next steps in Canada’s immediate response to COVID-19.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force provided details today about the Province’s vaccination program. – Media Release
      • Ongoing vaccine delays and reduced shipments have forced the Ontario government to update its goal of completing the administration of first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to residents in each long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care home to February 10. Amidst these delays, vaccination teams will be distributing vaccines in First Nations fly-in communities in the north as part of Operation Remote Immunity, beginning this week.
      • Last week, Ontario developed a plan to accelerate vaccination of the most vulnerable populations across Ontario with the goal of visiting each long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care home in the province to administer first doses by February 5, 2021, pending this week’s delivery dates.
      • Since that time, the federal government has confirmed Ontario’s allocation of the Moderna vaccine will be significantly reduced by 18,200 doses, to 63,400 doses. With the reduced shipment anticipated to be received late this week, doses will be delivered to public health units across Ontario to ensure residents of these homes are offered their first dose by February 10, 2021.
      • The decrease in supply of the Moderna vaccine is in addition to further reductions in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments from the federal government, which resulted in no deliveries for the week of January 25, 2021, and a reduced shipment of just over 26,000 doses for the first week of February.
      • The province’s initial approach was to offer vaccination to all residents, staff and essential caregivers working at long-term care and high-risk retirement homes to provide the opportunity for best overall protection. In response to the reduction in vaccine supply, the province prioritized the vaccination of residents of long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care homes.
      • The province is expecting approximately 310,000 doses to be delivered in the remaining weeks of February. Once sufficient doses are available, vaccinations will resume to provide first doses for staff and essential caregivers in settings with the most vulnerable populations.
      • The province also continues to protect access to second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those who have already received their first dose.
      • As of February 1 at 8:00 p.m., over 344,000 vaccine doses have been administered across the province, including over 91,000 doses administered to long-term care staff and retirement home staff, over 138,000 doses administered to health care workers and over 90,000 doses administered to long-term care and retirement home residents.
    • Question Period:
      • Could the government have saved lives (of the seniors who died in long term care homes) if they vaccinated long term care residents before health care workers? Premier, “it was our goal. But we were instructed by Pfizer that we couldn’t move the vaccine.” The Province took the approach to vaccinate the PSWs and staff of long term care homes who could come to the vaccination centres. When they did not come to get their vaccines, rather than have vaccines go to waste health care workers were vaccinated. “When we had the flexibility to move the vaccine we did. It’s tragic what happened in long term care homes.”
      • Other jurisdictions, like Quebec, moved the Pfizer vaccine. Why didn’t Ontario do this? Did you ask Pfizer if the vaccine could be moved? General Hillier, “we took the advice of the medical professionals and pharmacists who were working with Health Canada and Pfizer.” He said they didn’t have permission from Pfizer until January to move the vaccine.

Monday, Jan. 25, 2021:

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021:

  • Halton Region Council calls upon Federal Government to speed up delivery of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Highlights from Premier Ford’s briefing today:
    • The Premier spoke with Israeli officials today about their vaccination roll out. They have been recognized for the effective mass vaccination roll out. Predictable vaccine supply is critical.
    • Adjustments to the Province’s vaccination program were announced today. The adjustments are being made following notification by the federal government of reductions in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments. – Media Release
    • The Ontario government is accelerating the vaccination of residents in long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care homes by a new target date of February 5, 2021. To protect access to second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those who have already received their first dose, Ontario will maintain the maximum interval of 21-27 days for long-term care, retirement and First Nations elder care home resident groups and up to 42 days between the two doses for all other groups.
    • On January 19, 2021, the federal government notified the province of further reductions in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments. Ontario will not receive vaccine deliveries for the week of January 25, 2021 and will receive just over 26,000 doses for the first weeks of February. As of today, Ontario has not been provided its allocation for the weeks of February 8, 2021 and February 15, 2021, creating further uncertainty for the province’s vaccine rollout.
    • In response to the significant reduction in distribution by the federal government and the uncertainty of future shipments, the province and vaccination sites have worked together to develop a plan to accelerate vaccination of the province’s most vulnerable. Second doses will continue to be administered based on availability of supply provided by the federal government. Actions being taken include:
      1. Accelerate vaccination of the most vulnerable populations across Ontario with the goal of visiting each home in the province to administer first doses by February 5, 2021, pending week of February 1, 2021 delivery dates.
      2. Doses of the Moderna vaccine will be reallocated to 14 public health units to ensure vaccines are administered at each long-term care home in the province.
    • The government is ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and expand the number of vaccination sites as soon as doses are received. Ontario has capacity to vaccinate nearly 40,000 people per day and is building capacity to triple or quadruple that capacity pending federal government supply.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021:

  • Ontario Achieves Key Milestone with Vaccinations in Long-Term Care — Residents and Workers in Seven Regions Immunized Ahead of Schedule
  • Highlights from today’s Premier briefing:
    • Ontario has reached a key milestone in the fight against COVID-19, completing the first round of vaccinations ahead of schedule in all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex, the four regions with the highest COVID-19 transmission rates. The first round of vaccinations has also been administered at all long-term care homes in the Ottawa Public Health Region, Durham Region and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.  – Media Release
    • To date, more than 40 percent of all long-term care homes across the province have had an opportunity to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 83,000 long-term care residents, staff and essential caregivers have been vaccinated.
    • Progress continues to be made with the goal of administering vaccines in all long-term care homes across the province by February 15, 2021.
    • As part of Phase One of its vaccine implementation plan, Ontario will continue to focus on vaccinating vulnerable populations, and those who care for them, as more supply becomes available. On January 15, the province was alerted by the federal government that due to work to expand its European manufacturing facility, production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine will be impacted and Canada’s allocations of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the remainder of January and early February will be reduced.
    • To respond to this change in supply of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has provided updated direction on the administration of second doses:
      1. Long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents and their essential caregivers, who have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, will receive their second dose in 21 to 27 days.
      2. Staff who were vaccinated within the homes at the same time as the residents will also follow the same schedule.
      3. All other recipients of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine must receive their second dose after 21 days and before 42 days.
      4. For individuals who received the Moderna vaccine, the dose schedule of 28 days will remain.
    • The province’s vaccine strategy prioritizes the most vulnerable populations first, including residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes in regions with high COVID-19 transmission rates, who are at higher risk of contracting the virus.
    • As of January 19 at 12:00 p.m., over 226,000 doses have been administered across the province.

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021:

Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021:

  • Statement from the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health:  Implementing COVID-19 Vaccination in Canada — Vaccine Dose Interval – Statement
    • Provinces and territories are in the process of vaccinating Canadians safely and rapidly, as supply becomes available from manufacturers, beginning with groups at greatest risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death, as well as health care providers who care for these high-risk individuals and are key to protecting the integrity of our health care systems.
    • Canada, like other countries, is in the midst of a pandemic surge – COVID-19 cases are rising, healthcare system capacity is profoundly stretched in some places, and the risk of severe illness and death is growing. Faced with this reality, along with current constraints in vaccine supply, and the imperative to rapidly vaccinate as many high-risk people as quickly as possible, public health authorities are examining options, including potentially delaying the second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
    • This option is being considered only when necessary in order to give more high-risk people earlier access to vaccine in jurisdictions where the number of cases are rising rapidly and threatening the health care system’s ability to keep up. Extending the interval between the doses maintains the 2-dose requirement approved by Health Canada while allowing some flexibility to more rapidly protect high-risk individuals and their health care providers in areas with surging COVID-19 cases.
    • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) addresses the question of delaying the second dose of vaccine in their updated Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 Vaccine.
    • NACI advises that while the second dose should be given according to the approved schedule if possible, jurisdictions may consider delaying the second dose due to logistic or epidemiologic reasons until further supplies of the vaccine become available, preferably within 42 days (6 weeks) of the first dose.
    • In their expert view, this interval increase is expected to yield similarly high protection seen with second dose administration at 21 or 28 days after the first dose. This is consistent with recommendations released on January 8, 2021 by the World Health Organization that provides flexibility to extend the dose interval up to 42 days in circumstances of vaccine supply constraint and high disease burden.
    • The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021:

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021:

Friday, Jan. 8, 2021:

Update from General (Ret’d) Rick Hillier, Chair of COVID-19 Distribution Task Force.
Highlights:

  • Accelerated Long-Term Care Home Vaccination Plan launched. Four public health units (Toronto, York, Peel and Windsor-Essex) are piloting the administration of the Moderna vaccine and are accelerating their vaccination plans at 161 long-term care homes. the goal is to offer all residents, caregivers and staff who have not been vaccinated, the vaccine, on-site, by January 21, 2021.
  • 91,000 Ontarians vaccinated to date

Links:

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021:

Monday, Jan. 4, 2021:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT RELEASE: Ontario Releases Ethical Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
    • The Ontario government has released an Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution which was developed in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force to guide further vaccine prioritization and distribution across the province. The province continues to vaccinate vulnerable populations and those who care for them through Phase One of its three-phase implementation plan as additional vaccines become available.
    • Phase One of Ontario’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan began on December 15, 2020 at two hospital sites, and increased to 17 additional sites the following week, with the delivery of 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses. With Health Canada’s recent approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the province can expect about 50,000 additional doses before the end of the month.
    • The Ethical Framework includes the following principles to guide COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
      • Minimize harms and maximize benefits, to reduce overall illness and death related to COVID-19, protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and death due to biological, social, geographical and occupational factors, protect critical infrastructure, and promote social and economic well-being;
      • Equity in the distribution of vaccines without bias or discrimination, to reduce disparities in illness and death related to COVID-19, and ensuring benefits for groups experiencing greater burdens from the COVID-19 pandemic;
      • Fairness, to ensure that every individual within equally prioritized groups has the same opportunity to be vaccinated, and to ensure inclusive, consistent processes that are tailored to unique needs of Ontario’s many and varied communities when making decisions about vaccine prioritization;
      • Transparency, to ensure the principles and rationale, decision-making processes and plans for COVID-19 prioritization are clear, understandable and communicated to the public;
      • Legitimacy, making decisions based on the best available scientific evidence, shared values and input from affected parties including those historically underrepresented, to ensure decisions have the intended impact, and to include participation of affected parties in the creation and review of decisions and decision-making processes; and
      • Public trust, to ensure decisions and decision-making processes are informed by these principles to advance confidence and trust in Ontario’s COVID-19 immunization program.
    • Ontario has launched a new webpage detailing the province’s three-phase immunization program, information on COVID-19 vaccines, safety measures and approval standards, as well as daily updates on the number of Ontarians vaccinated.
    • The province will shift to Phase Two of its vaccination implementation plan, which is expected to begin later in the winter of 2021, when more vaccines become available to Ontario. During Phase Two vaccinations will continue for health care workers, long-term care homes, retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions, and additional First Nation communities and Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit individuals. The task force will use the Ethical Framework and the best available data to identify further priority populations within this phase, based on available vaccine supply.

Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020:
Update from General (Ret’d) Rick Hillier, Chair of COVID-19 Distribution Task Force: Moderna vaccine approved, Priority Distribution based on Ethical Framework:

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020:

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020:

Friday, Dec. 18, 2020:

  • Halton Region launches COVID-19 Vaccine updates webpage
  • Ontario Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Locations
    • Ontario will be distributing additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine to 17 more hospital sites over the next two weeks, including regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection. This is part of the initial phase of the government’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan that began on December 14 with the initial vaccinations administered at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN), followed by the launch of the pilot project at UHN and The Ottawa Hospital on December 15.
    • Ontario is expecting to receive up to 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses from the federal government before the end of the year to continue vaccinating health care workers and essential caregivers who work in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors. To prepare for the rollout of these next shipments, the following 17 hospital sites will be receiving the vaccine in addition to UHN and The Ottawa Hospital:
    • Windsor Regional HospitalLondon Health Sciences Centre
      Grand River HospitalHalton Healthcare
      Hamilton Health SciencesWilliam Osler Health System
      Trillium Health PartnersSouthlake Regional Health Centre
      Mackenzie HealthHumber River Hospital
      Sunnybrook Health Sciences CentreToronto East Health Network
      Unity Health TorontoScarborough Health Network
      Lakeridge HealthRoyal Victoria Regional Health Centre
      Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
    • We are all part of the same public health region and residents throughout Halton will be eligible for this vaccine. There needed to be a single distribution point initially, and that is Oakville Trafalgar, but distribution isn’t limited to Oakville residents.
      • The vaccine will be distributed across the Halton Public Health Unit which includes all four  municipalities: Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills.
    • All of these sites already have the equipment necessary to safely store the Pfizer vaccine at -70 degrees and the required staff are ready to receive and administer vaccines. Since this vaccine cannot be transferred beyond the initial delivery location at this time, vaccinations will continue to be administered to health care workers in high-risk settings first, such as long-term care homes and hospitals. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre was selected to test the travel logistics in Northern Ontario and support the administration of the vaccine to Indigenous and remote communities.
    • The province’s decision to identify key populations to receive the vaccine first is based on the advice of medical experts and ethicists, and recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and aligned with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendations.
    • The province will shift to Phase Two of its vaccination implementation plan, which is expected to begin later in the winter of 2021, when more vaccines become available to Ontario. During Phase Two, vaccinations will be administered to health care workers, as well as to residents in long-term care homes, retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions and additional First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit individuals.

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020:

  • Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Update: Vaccine Rollout Planning and Coordination
    • Some municipal CAOs/senior staff are reaching out now to their hospitals and public health units within their public health unit regions to set up vaccine rollout regional planning and coordination tables. These efforts can support the limited Phase 1 process now underway and help prepare for future steps in the vaccine rollout. Municipal staff may be able to assist in a number of ways such as public communications, providing facilities, aiding in transportation, managing parking and traffic control.
    • There will be a number of unexpected issues that arise throughout this distribution process and working together will allow quick local and coordinated problem solving and operational action when needed. We encourage the municipal sector to reach out now and assist your public health and health care partners to make 2021’s vaccine distribution process as well planned, transparent, and seamless as is possible.
    • The Phase 1 vaccine rollout out is occurring only in hospitals right now given the -70 C freezer requirement but with the word today that the more mobile Moderna vaccine is likely to be here by the end of December, more regional planning and coordination will be necessary between the public health units, the hospitals and the municipal sector.
  • Canada to receive early access to Moderna COVID-19 vaccineMedia Release
    • Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that following successful negotiations and contingent on Health Canada authorization of the vaccine, Canada will be able to access 168,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020.
    • These are part of the guaranteed 40 million doses, and up to a total of 56 million doses, that Canada has secured through its existing agreement with Moderna. As with all COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the Moderna vaccine must be authorized by Health Canada before being administered to Canadians.
    • The Government of Canada will continue to conduct dry-run exercises to confirm ordering and shipping processes for additional vaccines as they become available. These dry-run exercises are important to ensure that the Provinces and Territories have the necessary infrastructure and equipment in place and are able to plan to effectively and efficiently administer COVID-19 vaccines as they roll-out.
    • Moderna submitted an application for regulatory review of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate under Health Canada’s interim order on October 12, 2020. Results of this review are expected soon.  Health Canada will only authorize a vaccine once it has been shown to be safe, effective and of good quality.
  • Government of Canada invests in promising treatment that could fight COVID-19Media Release
    • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, today announced a contribution of up to $6.7 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to Arch Biopartners, a Canadian clinical-stage biotechnology company that aims to advance its lead drug candidate Metablok as a treatment for organ inflammation in severe cases of COVID-19. Metablok is designed to block inflammation in the lungs, liver and kidneys, helping alleviate complications in the worst cases of COVID‑19.
    • This funding will help Arch Biopartners advance Metablok through Phase II clinical trials to prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute kidney injury and other organ injuries caused by inflammation in hospitalized patients with severe cases of COVID-19. It will also help Arch Biopartners advance studies for optimal dosage; perform chemistry, manufacturing and controls to support the drug’s approval as a COVID-19 treatment; and ultimately prepare for a Phase III trial. This project will support Canada’s fight against COVID-19. Arch Biopartners has received Health Canada approval to conduct its Phase II clinical trials in Canada and is preparing to begin dosing patients in Canada.
    • Through this investment, the Government of Canada is contributing to breakthrough technology, efforts to advance the development of a treatment for COVID-19, and the commercialization of a made-in-Canada solution.

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020:

  • Provincial Government Briefing:
    • The Premier and General Hillier spoke about the launch of the vaccination program in Ontario yesterday. They both thanked the “thousands” of people involved in making this happen.
    • General Hillier called yesterday an emotional day. In 2-3 weeks he expects to have 90,000 more Pfizer vaccines in Ontario which will be distributed to 19 (includes Toronto and Ottawa sites) sites throughout the province
    • Question Period:
      • Where will the Moderna vaccine go first? General Hillier said that it will go to long term care homes in lockdown and hot spot regions. He said it may also go to retirement homes in those areas. Both residents and staff will be vaccinated.
      • When we begin to receive the vaccine in bulk what is the maximum number of people that will be vaccinated in one day? General Hillier, said it would be thousands/day. He expects that by the first quarter of 2021, 1.2 million Ontarians could be vaccinated. “We can vaccinate people faster than we can get the vaccines”
      • Should teachers be prioritized to receive the vaccine? The Premier said he is receiving calls from many groups about being moved to the top of the list for vaccinations. Minister Elliott said the vaccine task force will make recommendations to cabinet on who should be prioritized for vaccinations.
      • Have you ruled out using the Pfizer vaccine in long term care homes? General Hillier said that the Pfizer vaccine can not be moved from where it has been currently delivered. “Moving long term care residents to vaccination sites is to risky.” Vaccinating personal support workers and other staff provides a layer of protection until the Moderna, or other vaccines that are more stable than the Pfizer vaccine are approved. When approved the Moderna vaccine, which can be moved, will be used to do vaccinations in long term care homes.

Monday, Dec. 14, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL MEDIA RELEASE (Dec. 14, 2020): Ontario Delivers First COVID-19 Vaccine in the Country
    • Premier Doug Ford issued the following statement on the first COVID-19 vaccinations being administered to frontline health care workers in Ontario and in the country:
    • “Today is a historic day for Ontario and for Canada as the first Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines have started to be given to our frontline health care heroes.
    • I would especially like to recognize Anita Quidangen, the first person in Ontario and Canada to receive the shot. Anita is a personal support worker (PSW) from the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place, a long-term care home in Toronto. She has worked tirelessly to care for some of our most vulnerable, both throughout this pandemic and since her first days as a PSW in 1988. Anita has spent years rolling up her sleeves to protect our province, and today, she didn’t hesitate to find a new way to do so. She represents the best of the Ontario Spirit.
    • Today’s milestone officially launches the first phase of our three-phase vaccine implementation plan to keep Ontarians safe and marks the beginning of the long journey to return life back to normal. Over 2,500 health care workers in our hospitals and long-term care homes will be vaccinated over the coming days and weeks, with more people to follow as additional shipments arrive.
    • I encourage everyone to be patient. This is the biggest immunization program in a century, and our vaccine supply will arrive in stages. General Hillier and the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force are working with Health Canada and other provincial and territorial partners to ensure the vaccines are distributed quickly, so people can get immunized as soon as possible.

The Province has announced a three-phase implementation plan to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians as as they are received.
Phase One began on Dec. 15 with a pilot project in Toronto and Ottawa that included the vaccination of more than 2,500 health care workers with the Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The pilot is in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Pfizer-BioNTech. Two pilot sites at University Health Network in Toronto and The Ottawa Hospital will receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to health care workers who are providing care in hospitals and long-term care homes.
It’s expected that the pilot will help inform the province’s preparedness plan to receive larger vaccine quantities as it moves forward in Phase One, providing the opportunity to test the logistics of delivery, reconstitution of the vaccine, clinic management, and post-vaccine surveillance. The pilot also affords the opportunity to learn from the experiences of those being immunized so lessons learned can be shared with sites that will receive the vaccine in the coming weeks and months.
The two locations were selected for the pilot because this will test the travel logistics in two different regions of the province. In addition, these sites already have the equipment necessary to safely store the Pfizer vaccine at -70 C and the trained staff to handle the vaccine. Since this vaccine cannot be transferred beyond the initial delivery location at this time, vaccinations will be administered to health care workers in high-risk areas, such as long-term care and critical care units in the Toronto and Ottawa regions.

  • Phase One will continue with the following key milestones:
    • Based on per capita allocations, an expected 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses received from the federal government will be delivered to up to 14 hospital sites in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones in December, to vaccinate health care workers in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors.
    • Deliveries of an expected 35,000 to 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, once approved, will enable vaccinations to be expanded to long-term care homes in the Grey-Lockdown areas.
    • In early 2021, expansion of additional hospital sites providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones, with continued vaccination provided to health care workers and, with the appropriate safety protocols, to long-term care home and retirement home residents.
    • It is anticipated that by end of January over 20 hospitals across the province will be administering the Pfizer vaccine.
  • An expansion of the number of locations to administer the Moderna vaccine would include long-term care homes, retirement homes, public heath units, other congregate care settings for seniors, and remote Indigenous communities.
  • Phase Two:
  • When an increased stockpile of vaccines becomes available to Ontario, the province will shift to Phase Two of its vaccination implementation plan, which is expected to begin later in the winter of 2021. During Phase Two, vaccinations will be administered to health care workers, as well as to residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes, to home care patients with chronic conditions and to additional First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit individuals.
  • Phase Three:
  • Ontario will enter Phase Three when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wishes to be immunized. While vaccines will not be mandated, during Phase Three, people will be strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
  • The province’s decision to identify key populations to receive the vaccine first is based on the advice of medical experts and ethicists, recommended by the Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and aligned with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendations.


PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
A consolidated page for information and updates on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is available at bit.ly/COVIDVaccineUpdates.
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.
To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.
We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

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A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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