January 25, 2021, Premier Doug Ford and Chair of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, General Rick Hillier (retired) provided an update on the province’s ongoing vaccination plan.
Premier Ford also announced a new target date of February 5 to complete the administration of first doses to residents in all long-term care and high-risk retirement homes, province-wide.
Premier Ford and General Hillier were joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott and Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones.
Earlier today, Ontario further expanded the eligibility for its targeted emergency child care program. New additions to the list of eligible workers include education staff reporting for work in person while their children learn remotely, as well as grocery store and pharmacy workers. This change is effective Wednesday, January 27.
Seven public health units in Southern Ontario were permitted to resume in-school learning today. Yesterday, ahead of the return to school for more than 100,000 students, Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce issued a statement.
Over the weekend, Ontario expanded its “inspection blitz” of big box stores to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara, and Durham regions.
Update on COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
This afternoon, Premier Ford and General Hillier provided an update on Ontario’s ongoing COVID-19 immunization campaign. Today’s update also described adjustments that have been made to the province’s vaccination plan to account for delays in Canadian shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Updated Vaccination Plan
Ontario is accelerating the vaccination of residents in long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care homes, with the goal of completing all first doses for this population, province-wide, by February 5th. The province’s previous goal was to administer the first dose to all residents, staff, and essential caregivers in long-term care by February 15th. However, due to shipment delays, the immediate priority group has been refined to focus primarily on the vulnerable residents of these facilities.
Premier Ford added that delayed vaccine shipments necessitate a more “cautious” approach to ensuring the availability of second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those who have already received their first dose. For residents of long-term care, retirement, and First Nations elder care homes, second doses will be administered between 21-27 days after the initial dose. For all other populations, second doses may be administered up to 42 days after the initial dose.
Ontario’s initiative to vaccine northern, remote First Nations communities will also continue. To date, Ornge has delivered 760 doses to Sioux Lookout and 680 doses to communities across James Bay Coast. In February, Ornge will lead Operation Remote Immunity, which will rollout and deliver the vaccine to 31 fly-in communities.
Vaccines Administered to Date
- To date, over 287,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered across the province. This includes:
- 80,000+ doses administered to long-term care and retirement home staff;
- 114,000+ doses administered to health care workers; and,
- 68,000+ doses administered to long-term care and retirement home residents.
- The second dose has been administered to more than 50,000 people.
- Residents in almost 80% of long-term care homes and 71% of retirement homes have had the opportunity to receive their first dose.
Expanded Eligibility for Emergency Child Care
Earlier today, Ontario further expanded the eligibility for its targeted emergency child care program, which is intended to provide workers and their families with no-cost child care options in regions where students continue to learn remotely.
New additions to the list of those eligible for emergency child care include:
- Workers in fuel distribution and oil refineries;
- Education staff who are required to report to work in person while their children continue with remote learning;
- Grocery store and pharmacy workers;
- Truck drivers;
- Farmers and those who support food or agricultural product supply chains;
- Individuals involved in collecting, transporting, storing, processing, disposing or recycling of any type of waste; and,
- Individuals working in the manufacturing and distribution of disinfectants and sanitizers.
For workers listed above, this benefit will be available beginning on Wednesday, January 27th.
The existing list of eligible workers is available here.