Second Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritized to Ontario Hotspots with High Delta Variant from June 14

The Ontario government is accelerating COVID-19 vaccine second 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.

As well, anyone in the province who is aged 50 or older, or with high-risk health conditions, can also book a second shot beginning Monday.

However, a person must have gotten their first dose on or before May 9 to be eligible.

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.

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.

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 the first dose of AstraZeneca, even if they are in a high Delta variant hotspot, got their shot before May 9, and want to get Pfizer or Moderna.

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 the 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 percent of adult Ontarians have the first dose with 11 percent have both.

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

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.

This post is also available in: English

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