TORONTO — Ontario announced the COVID-19 vaccination schedule for adults aged 60 and older Wednesday.
The online reservation system and call centre will open and adults 80 years old and older will be allowed to book appointments starting March 15.
Here’s when the system will open up for other age groups:
- April 15 — 75 and older,
- May 1 — 70 and older,
- June 1 — 65 and over,
- July 1 — 60 and older.
Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, who’s leading Ontario’s vaccine rollout, made the announcement during a press conference at Queen’s Park. A spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford refused to provide the dates in writing.
The dates are all dependent on supply, Gen. Hillier said, and could change.
He said flyers will be mailed to people in these age brackets with more detailed instructions.
People outside of these age groups will not be able to book appointments during these times.
The government’s plan says it will focus on vaccinating older adults and other high-risk populations, like essential workers and people with chronic health conditions, until the end of July. In August, the government expects to start vaccinating the rest of the general population.
Hillier also defended Ontario’s rollout, which has been criticized for being slow and confusing. Quebec has already launched its online booking system and people 85 and older can get vaccinated starting next week. In Alberta, people who are 75 and older can book an appointment as of Wednesday.
Hillier said Ontario couldn’t open an online booking system so far because vaccine supply has been “fickle.”
“We had such a drought for such a long period of time. Now we have received the forecast through to the end of May and into June, actually, and we have more confidence …”
He also said an online system hasn’t been necessary because Ontario has so far only vaccinated health-care workers, people who live or work in nursing homes and retirement homes, as well as adults in remote Indigenous communities.
Ontario has administered more than 600,000 doses so far and more than 251,000 people have received two doses and are fully vaccinated.
Local public health units are responsible for administering vaccines so where the shots will be given out depends on where you live.
“The rollout in Toronto will be very different from the roll out in North Bay, Thunder Bay and so on,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday.
“It’s up to the local medical officers of health to fashion a plan, whether it’s going to be mass vaccination clinics, whether it’s going to be through pharmacies, whether it’s going to be through physicians’ offices.”
With files from The Canadian Press