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2nd COVID-19 shots prioritized to Ontario hot spots with high Delta variant starting June 14

Click to play video: 'Ontario accelerates 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose intervals to Delta variant areas of concern' Ontario accelerates 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose intervals to Delta variant areas of concern
WATCH ABOVE: The Ontario government has moved up the eligibility of second doses for residents in parts of the GTA. Shallima Maharaj reports. – Jun 10, 2021

The Ontario government is accelerating second COVID-19 doses for people living in hot spot areas where the Delta variant is of concern, and depending on when their first shot was received.

Starting at 8 a.m. Monday, people in Toronto, Peel, York, Halton, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Porcupine health units will be eligible for their second shot, if they got their first shot on or before May 9, according to documents released Thursday.

Officials cited the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), originally detected in India, as a major concern and reason for prioritizing second shots to certain parts of the province.

Peel Region’s medical officer of health Dr. Lawrence Loh has already sounded the alarm that the Delta variant could become the dominant strain in that region in the next month, with the rest of Ontario just weeks behind.

Read more: COVID-19: Toronto vaccine strategy to begin targeting Delta variant hotspots

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Click to play video: 'Ontario expands 2nd dose COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for 7 Delta hot spots starting June 14' Ontario expands 2nd dose COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for 7 Delta hot spots starting June 14
Ontario expands 2nd dose COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for 7 Delta hot spots starting June 14 – Jun 10, 2021

Officials said the province will allocate vaccines to areas with high Delta variant incidence rates when inventory gets low.

The government said starting the week of June 20, more workplace mobile clinics will pop-up in Peel, York and Toronto, along with employer-led clinics in Peel, to start targeting second doses in those communities.

Eligible residents can book a second dose appointment via the provincial booking system, local public health unit or at a participating pharmacy.

Read more: Peel Region to see Delta variant as dominant COVID-19 strain, top doctor says

For those who received AstraZeneca, a second dose of the same vaccine or an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) can be chosen at a 12-week interval. The acceleration of a second-dose vaccine does not include those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca even if they are in a high Delta variant hotspot, got their shot before May 9 and want a second shot of AstraZeneca or Pfizer or Moderna.

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The province said AstraZeneca allocation will expand to more regions in the coming weeks to mirror the initial rollout.

The shift to prioritize hotspots comes after second dose intervals were moved up for the 80-plus age group followed by those aged 70 and older along with anyone who got a first shot on or before April 18 due to an increased vaccine supply. The province called this a “first in, first out” approach.

More than 10.6 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario so far. There are nearly 1.4 million people fully vaccinated with two doses. The province has been administering an average of 160,000 shots a day.

So far, 73 per cent of adult Ontarians have a first dose with 11 per cent have both.

Ontario is expected to receive 4.7 million vaccines in June, primarily Pfizer followed by Moderna, with supply from AstraZeneca pending.

First and second dose vaccine percentages by age group in Ontario. Government of Ontario

Registering an out-of-province/country vaccination

The government also announced those who got fully vaccinated outside of Ontario or Canada are encouraged to contact their local public health unit to have their COVID-19 immunization verified and recorded into the province’s COVAX system.

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