Certain high-risk health-care workers in Ontario will be eligible for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than the expected fourth-month interval, the Ford government announced Monday.
Booking will begin for those eligible by the end of this week.
The province said the move is due to an increase in supply. Those included in the eligibility group includes high-risk health-care workers, dialysis patients and all First Nations, Inuit and Metis individuals.
The province expects to receive weekly shipments of more than 785,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech in May, and more than 938,000 doses per week next month.
“These groups face a greater risk of contracting and suffering serious illness from COVID-19,” the province said in a release on Monday.
“With a stable and predictable supply of vaccines, Ontario’s vaccine rollout continues to pick up speed, and we are on track to administer a first dose to 65 per cent of Ontario adults by the end of May,” Minister of Health Christine Elliott said.
On Monday it was also announced that other groups would become eligible throughout the week to begin booking their first shots in Ontario including people who cannot work from home, people aged 40 years and older in non-hot spot communities and those with certain at-risk health conditions.
Ontario is sending half its vaccine supply to designated COVID-19 hot spots for the next two weeks, and the government has said it hopes to allow all adults in the province to book shots by the end of the month.
On Monday, Ontario reported 2,716 new coronavirus cases, bringing the provincial total to 495,019. Ontario has also seen 8,327 total deaths since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.
—With files from Gabby Rodrigues and The Canadian Press
The full list is below of those eligible for the shortened interval is below from the Ontario government:
- All hospital and acute care staff in frontline roles with COVID-19 patients and/or with a high-risk of exposure to COVID-19, including nurses and personal support workers and those performing aerosol-generating procedures:
- Critical Care Units
- Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Departments
- COVID-19 Medical Units
- Code Blue Teams, rapid response teams
- General internal medicine and other specialists involved in the direct care of COVID-19 positive patients
- All patient-facing health care workers involved in the COVID-19 response:
- COVID-19 Specimen Collection Centers (e.g., Assessment centers, community COVID-19 testing locations)
- Teams supporting outbreak response (e.g., IPAC teams supporting outbreak management, inspectors in the patient environment, redeployed health care workers supporting outbreaks or staffing crisis in congregate living settings)
- COVID-19 vaccine clinics and mobile immunization teams
- Mobile Testing Teams
- COVID-19 Isolation Centers
- COVID-19 Laboratory Services
- Current members of Ontario’s Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT) who may be deployed at any time to support an emergency response
- Medical First Responders
- Firefighters providing medical first response as part of their regular duties
- Police and special constables providing medical first response as part of their regular duties
- Community health care workers serving specialized populations including:
- Needle exchange/syringe programs and supervised consumption and treatment services
- Indigenous health care service providers including but not limited to:
- Aboriginal Health Access Centers, Indigenous Community Health Centers,
- Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Teams, and Indigenous Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics
- Long-term care home and retirement-home health care workers, including nurses and personal support workers and Essential Caregivers
- Individuals working in Community Health Centers serving disproportionally affected communities and/or communities experiencing highest burden of health, social and economic impacts from COVID-19
- Critical health care workers in remote and hard to access communities, e.g., sole practitioner
- Home and community care health care workers, including nurses and personal support workers caring for recipients of chronic homecare and seniors in congregate living facilities or providing hands-on care to COVID-19 patients in the community