The Ontario government said residents aged 45 years and older living in designated hot spots in the province can book their COVID-19 vaccine appointments as of 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Child care workers in licensed settings will be eligible to book beginning Thursday.
Anyone who is 45 years and older living in one of the 114 high-risk neighbourhoods can book to receive their vaccine at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial booking portal.
“This is a step forward in Phase Two of our vaccine distribution plan to ensure we are protecting people and communities most at risk,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“By using every available channel to deliver vaccines, we are working to vaccinate Ontarians as quickly as possible and stop the spread in our communities. I encourage everyone who is eligible to book their appointment as soon as they can.”
The Ontario government said child care workers in licensed settings will receive a letter from their employers which they must have during the booking of their appointment and the appointment itself.
Eligibility for those working in an unlicensed setting will be made available in the coming weeks.
“Ontario’s child care workers are making a difference and supporting working parents at this critical time,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “That’s why child care workers provincewide will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment. Our child care centres are safe and the expansion of vaccines will further protect children and staff.”
The province said it is expanding vaccine eligibility despite delays and uncertainty surrounding the arrival of more doses.
Ontario is expecting nearly 4,100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot next month but is waiting for confirmation of shipments for the Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
As of 8 p.m. Monday, around 4.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario.
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson are the vaccines currently approved in Canada. The first three require two shots administered several weeks apart while the fourth requires only one. J & J vaccines have not yet arrived in Canada.
—With files from The Canadian Press