Ontario to stop increased vaccine supply to Toronto hot spots next week

Toronto officials will provide a COVID-19 update today at 2 p.m. ET. Toronto Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Toronto Fire Chief and head of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg are scheduled to speak.

You can watch the livestream here.

Next week, Ontario will stop sending 50 per cent of its COVID-19 vaccine supply to hot spot neighbourhoods, instead allocating doses evenly across the province. 

In April, the provincial government began targeting communities with high rates of COVID-19 infections — the majority in Toronto — by supplying them with 25 per cent of doses. 

It ramped up that effort in the first two weeks of May to 50 per cent of doses. 

By May 10, 53.2 per cent of people over 18 years of age in hot spots had received at least one dose, compared to 46.9 per cent of people in lower risk neighbourhoods, according to provincial data released Wednesday.

The province said it increased the supply of vaccines to those areas by one million doses as a “time-limited response to reduce COVID-19 case, hospitalizations and deaths.” 

It will return to allocating doses by population in the last two weeks of May, as it opens eligibility to people aged 30 and up May 17 and all adults over 18 on May 24. 

Toronto officials have repeatedly called for the province to extend its hot spot strategy, saying city-run and mobile and pop-up clinics have the capacity to vaccinate more people faster if given the supply.

“We continue to need more vaccine and we’ve made that clear to other governments who receive it from the manufacturer,” Mayor John Tory told reporters on May 5. “We have considerable additional capacity to do more at city-operated clinics.” 

The province’s own science advisory table has recommended allocating 50 per cent of doses to hot spots for the entire month of May. Toronto’s Board of Health passed a motion May 10 calling for the province to follow this advice.

Toronto saw 712 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health. The city says it has administered more than 1.5 million vaccine doses. 

The province is expecting an influx of doses from the federal government, which will translate to more supply at the city level. For May, Ontario will receive close to four million doses. 

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