Accelerated second vaccine dose eligibility continues

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.

“Thanks to the efforts of Team Ontario we are making tremendous progress in our vaccine rollout, protecting communities at greatest risk of COVID-19 and variants,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “Every dose administered brings us closer to ending the pandemic and moving to Step Two of our Roadmap, and I encourage everyone to do their part and get their shot as soon as they are eligible.”

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:

  • As of June 21 at 8 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.
  • As of June 23 at 8 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.
  • Starting the week of June 28, (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, 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.

“The large increase of Moderna vaccines and steady supply of Pfizer has enabled Ontario to speed up second dose appointments, target hot spot areas and provide more options for people to become fully immunized,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said. “With every vaccine administered we are making meaningful progress in our collective efforts to protect our loved ones and keep communities safe.”

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.

As of June 16, the province’s public health units, mass vaccination clinics, hospital sites, pharmacies, and physicians have administered nearly 12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians. Over 75 per cent of adult Ontarians are benefitting from the protection of a first dose of vaccine, and more than 19 per cent are fully immunized. In addition, youth clinics hosted by public health units are operating across the province and have administered first doses to more than 48 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17 to date.

As part of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, the province will remain in Step One for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of those 21 days the province has vaccinated 70 per cent of adults with one dose and 20 per cent of adults with two doses and there are positive trends in public health and health system indicators, Ontario will move to Step Two.

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