MPP Jim McDonell
The Ontario government is steadily increasing capacity in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout with the addition of over 350 additional pharmacies and more primary care settings across the province. All of these locations will be offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over, with some locations to begin offering the vaccine as early as Saturday, April 3, 2021.
“Ontario’s capacity to get needles in arms continues to grow by the day,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Thanks to the determination and commitment of members of Team Ontario we are ahead of schedule and administering more vaccines than all of the other provinces combined. We are ready to dramatically increase the number of vaccines we can administer once we receive a steady and reliable supply from the federal government.”
Earlier this month, Ontario began offering the vaccine to individuals aged 60 and over at pharmacies and primary care settings. With today’s expansion bringing the total number of pharmacies offering the vaccine to nearly 700 locations, it is expected that this number could reach approximately 1,500 by the end of April.
“Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated frontline health care providers, Ontario’s vaccine rollout in primary care settings and pharmacy settings has been a success,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “With more locations coming on board, these settings will make receiving the COVID-19 vaccine easier and more convenient for eligible populations across the province. I encourage everyone to sign up when it’s their turn. Until we receive enough vaccines so that the majority of Ontarians can be vaccinated it remains critical for everyone to continue following public health measures we know work and keep us safe.”
The province also continues to work with primary care professionals to offer vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations, such as physician offices, in collaboration with public health units. This initiative is expanding from locations in six public health unit regions to offering the vaccine in every region across the province covering all 34 public health units.
Additional pharmacies and primary care settings will continue to join and increase access points for vaccine across the province.
“As we bring more distribution channels on board, we need a consistent and reliable flow of vaccines to ensure all Ontarians who want to be vaccinated will receive that vital shot in their arm,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “With the increasing spread of variants of concern and case counts in the thousands each day, we encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and protect yourself and your family. For those still waiting, please be patient as your turn is coming.”
Find the list of pharmacies offering the AstraZeneca vaccine as the province prepares for Phase 2 of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout.
As of March 31, 2021, at 8:00 p.m., over 2,275,000 vaccine doses have been administered across the province, with over 81 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over having received at least one dose. More than half of residents aged 75 to 79 have now received their first shot. Over 317,000 Ontarians are fully immunized, including 91 per cent of long-term care residents. Ontario is leading the country in the total number of vaccines administered and has fully immunized more individuals than all provinces and territories combined.
Only COVID-19 vaccines that Health Canada determines to be safe and effective will be approved for use in Ontario. In alignment with updated NACI recommendations, Ontario will not use AstraZeneca vaccine for individuals under 55, while data is being reviewed by Health Canada.
Vaccinations with the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine at pharmacies require an appointment to be made in advance. As of April 3, eligible adults aged 55 and over (if 55 or older as of the day of vaccination or, if will be 55 or older in 2021) who are interested in booking an appointment, can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy and can contact the pharmacy to make an appointment.
Vaccinations with the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine at primary care settings will expand according to available supply. Appointments are not being taken by request. Do not call your primary care providers to book an appointment – as of April 3, participating primary care providers in select areas will be reaching out to eligible Ontarians aged 55 or older.
Participation and performance in the 2020-2021 Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP), as well as capacity and readiness for vaccinations, have been part of the criteria of selection to onboard the pharmacies. The province is also ensuring that all pharmacies, chain and independent, are participating. Site selection also included input from local public health units, the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) and Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (NPAC). Regions with high COVID-19 rates were prioritized.
In March, Ontario received 1,454,310 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the first shipment of 323,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine (225,600 doses delayed until April) and 194,500 doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine. An additional 583,400 doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine was received on April 1. In April, the province is expecting to receive 1,584,180 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 751,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine.