Phase 2 COVID Vaccine Rollout Announced by Province

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The provincial government confirmed on Tuesday that it is moving into Phase 2 of the vaccination plan with a focus on reaching individuals in "hot spot" communities.

According to a release from the province, the plan remains age-focused while also prioritizing those living or working in high-risk congregate settings, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions (and their caregivers), those who cannot work from home and at risk populations.

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The 13 public health units considered hot spots are Windsor-Essex, Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Simcoe-Muskoka, Southwestern, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York Region.

As early as Tuesday, individuals with the following highest-risk health conditions will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Ontario:

  • Organ transplant recipients;
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients;
  • People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis);
  • Haematological malignancy diagnosed less than one year ago;
  • Sickle cell disease;
  • Kidney disease eGFR< 30; and
  • Essential caregivers for individuals in the groups listed above.

Patients with the specific health conditions listed above, as well as their essential caregiver will be identified for vaccination due to an increased risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, regardless of age. The province is expecting to reach the majority of this group through hospital clinics by the end of April 2021.

Other groups that will become eligible to receive vaccines as part of Phase Two of the Ontario immunization program include:

  • Individuals with specific health conditions which make them at high-risk or at-risk, as well as some primary caregivers;
  • People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers; and,
  • Certain workers who cannot work from home (e.g., elementary / secondary school staff, food manufacturing workers, high-risk and critical retail workers, and more).

With a steady supply of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government, it's expected over nine million Ontarians will be offered their first vaccination between April and end of June 2021.  

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List of "hot zones" in Ontario organized by postal code, April 6, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Premier's office)