COVID-19 vaccine supply falls short as eligibility opens to 18+ in Ontario hot spots

The Ontario government opened eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccination to all adults living in hot spot regions, but York Region's top doctor says the supply isn't matching the demand.

On Sunday, the province announced that anyone 18+ living in one of the 114 COVID-19 hot spots could book a vaccine appointment through the provincial online booking system, but Dr. Karim Kurji says the lack of doses has vaccine clinic staff waiting for more shipments.

"No matter how much we try, it's very, very difficult to make any changes to the provincial allocations," Dr. Kurji says.

Meanwhile, Canada is set to begin receiving more than 2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine each week as the two pharmaceutical firms ramp up their deliveries and begin shipping shots from the United States.

Dr. Kurji says he can't understand why York couldn't receive a fairer share for the weeks of May 17 and 24 for the region's high-priority areas.

"We are asking that our weekly supplies be bumped up from 50,000 to 80,000 for each one of those weeks," the region's medical officer of health says if more doses don't end up in the region, "We'll have to close some of our clinics."

While it's inconvenient, some York residents younger than 35 may be able to book the booster shot away from home through the provincial system.

Starting Monday, residents 18+ living in one of York's 13 hot spots with postal codes L0J, L3S, L3T, L4B, L4E, L4H, L4J, L4K, L4L, L6A, L6B, L6C or L6E are eligible to book an appointment online.

Additionally, the province opened vaccinations up to child care staff of licensed child care facilities who live or work in the region.

To date, over 429,000 York residents have received at least one COVID-19 shot.

With files from CTV Toronto