TORONTO — The Ontario government announced recently that people over the age of 18 living in neighborhoods disproportionately affected by COVID-19 would be soon eligible for a vaccine.
The government released some details during the provincewide stay-at-home announcement on Wednesday, but many questions remained on who would be eligible for the expanded rollout, when they could book and how.
CTV News Toronto has looked into these questions, and compiled a list of everything you need to know about the changes.
Who is eligible?
The Ontario government says the province will start vaccinations of education workers starting the week of April 12, including staff who work with special education students and staff in high-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel Region.
The province also said that people over the age of 18 in these neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel Region would also be prioritized for a vaccine.
In these neighbourhoods, officials said they would target people in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based facilities and those working for large employers.
As vaccines become available, officials said eligibility would expand to high-risk neighbourhoods in other hot spot regions, including Durham Region, Halton Region, Hamilton, Niagara Region, Ottawa, Simcoe-Muskoka, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Windsor-Essex, and York Region.
So far, the province has identified 25 postal codes in Peel Region and 53 in Toronto as priority spots for the COVID-19 vaccine.
You can search the first three letters of your postal code in our database below to see if your neighbourhood is considered at high risk of COVID-19 transmission.
How can you book?
The province said mobile teams, working with public health units, community groups, and local businesses, will administer the vaccines to these groups.
Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in the high-risk neighbourhoods to administer vaccines to people 18 and over, including at faith-based locations and community centres.
“More details on how to book an appointment through one of these settings will be provided in the near future, in collaboration with Toronto and Peel Public Health,” a spokesperson for the ministry said on Thursday.
Ontario’s Ministry of Health said both the mobile teams and pop-up clinics would not use the provincial booking system.
However, the province will expand the booking eligibility for the system on April 9 to allow people over the age of 50 to book a vaccine in these high-risk neighbourhoods.
Where and when can you get the vaccine?
The province said its working with local public health units to determine the exact locations that will be targeted by pop-up clinics and mobile teams.
Officials have also not specified an exact date as to when the vaccinations will start, but community partners have already started setting up pop-up clinics in residential buildings, religious facilities and plazas.
The province says local public health units in hotspot regions are driving the campaign, and will determine when and where to administer the doses.
Toronto Public Health told CTV News Toronto on Thursday that its working on to develop its strategy.
“As the provincial government made this announcement just yesterday afternoon, TPH and its health care partners are working in partnership to develop a strategy that will be shared publicly soon,” a spokesperson said.
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