The provincial government expects to ramp up vaccine distribution even further with a boost in deliveries expected in the coming weeks. If the deliveries arrive as scheduled, every Ontarian 18 and older should have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May.
Queen’s Park announced an expected increase in Pfizer shipments starting next month. Throughout the month of May, the province says we should receive over 4,089,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with another 3.7 million doses due by June 28.
With an expected increase in supply, the Ontario Government says it is planning to expand eligibility as part of phase two of the vaccine distribution. As of April 30, at 8 a.m., vaccines will be made available to those aged 55 and over. By the week of May 10, it is expected widespread access will be provided to those 40 and up, while everyone over the age of 18 will be able to access a vaccine by May 24.
“Ontario’s vaccine rollout is continuing to focus on getting vaccines to those most at risk,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “With a stable and reliable supply of vaccines on the way, we will continue expanding access to the vaccine in communities across the province, especially those areas that continue to be hit hardest by COVID-19. The best vaccine remains the first one you’re offered, and I strongly encourage everyone to sign up as soon as it’s their turn.”
While the province is anticipating an increase in vaccine shipments in the future, it is not changing the amount of time Ontarians would wait for a second dose. Minister Elliott says the first shot does provide a level of protection against the virus and diminishes symptoms for those who do contract COVID after vaccination. “We are not looking at changing our distribution time between the first and second doses,” she said. “However, with the quantities of vaccines that we are receiving now, we may be able to shorten the time limit somewhat. But that in itself has not caused us to change our decision about the vaccination times in between doses.”
Thus far, there are only 338,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine expected in May, while there is no information regarding how many AstraZeneca doses to expect in the near future. The province adds, while the federal government is expecting about 300,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson formula, the allocation of doses coming to Ontario isn’t known yet.
To date, over five million vaccine doses have been administered to Ontarians, and 38.5 per cent of adults in the province have received at least one dose. The province says it is averaging at over 106,000 doses administered per day, with the capacity to provide 150,000 a day should supply meet demand.