Ontario unveils next in line priority groups for COVID vaccine

Delivery of vaccine doses is expected to ramp up

The province is preparing to expand its Phase One immunization program as the supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

A memo sent to Medical Officers of Health and hospital CEOs indicates adults over the age of 80, and staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes along with all Indigenous adults are on the priority list to be next in line to receive their first doses.

“The provincial target of providing a first dose offer of vaccine to residents of all long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes is arriving at completion. This includes work underway to make vaccinations available to First Nations elder care homes across the province,” the memo read.

“At this time, we are pleased to report that residents at all long-term care homes across the province have been given an opportunity for their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

The government said second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered 35 to 42 days later except for residents of long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care homes, those 80 and older, and residents in other types of congregate care homes for seniors. The second dose for those groups can be expected 21 and 27 days after their first.

The second doses for the Moderna vaccine will continue to be 28 days after the first dose.

The only COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada are ones produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. Delivery from facilities in Europe has been delayed, which has slowed vaccination programs across the country. Just over 922,000 people in Canada have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or about 2.43 per cent of the population.