Ontario to give child-care and education workers priority access to vaccination appointments

Province is working with local health units to set up clinics outside the GTHA

After an outcry that the Ontario government was not doing enough to support a safe return to school, the province says child-care and education workers will be given priority access to vaccination appointments.

A mass vaccination clinic will take place at the International Centre in Mississauga for all education and child-care workers starting tomorrow, and an unspecified number of appointments will be set aside.

Eligible individuals can book appointments by calling the provincial vaccine hotline at 1-833-943-3900.

The appointments will be available between 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week.

The government said on Thursday it is working with local public health units to “urgently” set up more clinics for child care staff and educators living outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday that schools would be closed for in-person learning until at least Jan. 17 due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

However, what wasn’t in the messaging was a plan to speed up the rollout of booster shots for education workers, something that rankled teachers’ unions.

As well as expanded vaccination, the government also said it will be distributing N95 masks to all workers in licenced child-care facilities and will be “updating and enhancing child care screening measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The province had previously said the masks were available only to education workers in schools.