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Youth Aged 12-17 Across Ontario Eligible for Accelerated Second Dose. More Than Five Million Ontarians Now Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

TORONTO — As the province moved to Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen, Ontario is accelerating second dose eligibility to all children and youth aged 12 to 17 to provide them with a strong level of protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and support a safe return to school in September.

Starting on Monday, July 5, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., youth aged 12 to 17 across the province were eligible to book an accelerated second dose appointment to receive the Pfizer vaccine through the provincial booking system, directly through public health units that use their own booking system, and through participating pharmacies.

“As the province enters Step Two of our Roadmap, all eligible Ontarians have the opportunity for a two-dose summer,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Vaccines are the best defence against COVID-19 and variants, and I encourage everyone to get their first and second shots as soon as possible.”

Ontario’s vaccine rollout has been widely successful, surpassing targets and continuing to expand eligibility ahead of schedule. During the week of June 21, 2021, the province administered more than one million doses in four days. Notably, 26,771 doses were administered in a single day at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena Clinic, setting a North American record. To date, the province’s public health units, mass vaccination clinics, hospital sites, pharmacies and primary care providers have administered over 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with more than 77 per cent of adult Ontarians having received their first dose and more than 42 per cent fully immunized.

To continue to protect against the Delta variant the province continues to provide targeted supports to Delta hot spots. Since last week, provincially supported mobile teams have begun returning to community and workplace sites to support second dose clinics in Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Toronto, Peel and York region hot spots. Two pop-up teams and additional vaccination staff are also helping to accelerate first and second doses in priority communities in Waterloo Region. A total of 230,000 additional doses were provided to Delta hot spots over the past weeks to accelerate vaccinations and further protect these communities.

“Expanding the eligibility for accelerated second doses to include youth aged 12 to 17 is another positive step in the rollout of vaccines across Ontario,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “With the continued support of our public health partners, we are on track to significantly increase the number of Ontarians who will be fully immunized this summer, helping to protect themselves and their community.”

Quick Facts

To date, more than ten million vaccine first and second dose appointments have been made through the provincial booking system since its launch in March 2021.

Due to the ongoing success of Ontario’s vaccine rollout and continuing improvements in key public health indicators, the province moved into Step Two of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen on June 30, 2021.

Ontario received approximately 3.7 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and approximately 4.7 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in June, and is expected to receive approximately 3.54 million doses of Pfizer in July and 550,000 doses of Moderna for the first week of July. Ontario’s allocation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, meant to arrive during the first two weeks of July, will be 907,000 doses, down from the 1.7 million doses expected initially, with the remainder to arrive during the last two weeks of July (2,637,000 doses).

All vaccines provided as part of Ontario’s vaccine rollout provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant. Mixing vaccines is safe, effective and enables Ontarians to receive their second dose sooner. This is consistent with the practices of many jurisdictions and recommendations provided by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

Public health units are responsible for determining how vaccines are allocated through their region as well as through local distribution channels, including through the provincial booking system. New clinic appointments on the provincial booking system are being added by public health units regularly.

Eligible groups can use Ontario’s vaccine booking system to find out how to schedule an appointment, or can call the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line number at 1-833-943-3900. For general inquiries, individuals can call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line number at 1-888-999-6488 or TTY service is also available by calling 1-866-797-0007. Appointments can also be scheduled directly through public health units that use their own booking system, and through participating pharmacies. Select primary care providers are also reaching out to book appointments.

Ontario Further Eases Long-Term Care Home Restrictions

New changes align with progress made under Roadmap to Reopen

TORONTO — In line with the move to Step Two of the government’s Roadmap to Reopen, Ontario is making additional changes to enhance long-term care home residents’ quality of life. The changes will take effect Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

“As we cautiously and safely reopen the province, no one deserves to enjoy the reopening more than long-term care residents, their families and the staff,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. “As we head into summer, long-term care residents will be able to spend more time with their friends and families thanks to the efforts of people across Ontario rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated.”

Working with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and based on feedback from residents, their families, and other partners, the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s website and guidance document have been updated to set out the following:

– Residents can have outdoor visits of up to 10 people.

– All residents may have up to two general visitors and two caregivers for an indoor visit.

– Personal care services can resume.

– Cohorting of residents can be relaxed during outdoor activities.

As well, there is no longer a limit on the number of people who can be designated as a caregiver by a resident or their substitute decision-maker.

A further easing of restrictions is planned to align with the timing of Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen. These changes are expected to include:

– Removing the limits on the number of visitors to the homes

– Permitting buffet and family style dinning

– Providing that all residents will be able to go on absences regardless of immunization status

– Resumption of off-site excursions for residents

– Resumption of activities such as singing and dancing

The province continues to actively monitor COVID-19 activity, particularly in this vulnerable sector. The health and safety of residents and staff and all others who attend homes, including their mental and emotional wellbeing, remains our top priority.

 Quick Facts

Caregivers are essential visitors, designated by a resident or their substitute decision maker, who provide direct care to residents, such as helping with feeding, mobility, hygiene or cognitive stimulation.

Other recent updates since the initial release of the Roadmap to Reopen include:

Close physical contact is now permitted between fully immunized residents and fully immunized general visitors and brief hugs are permitted for all visitors and residents regardless of vaccination status.

Short-term and temporary absences are permitted for fully immunized residents.

All Ontarians, including all staff, visitors, and residents in long-term care homes, must continue to follow public health measures including masking, physical distancing (with specified exceptions), hand hygiene, and staying at home when they are sick. While COVID-19 immunizations have been demonstrated to be very effective, it is important for Ontarians to not let their guard down during this crucial period in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Given their age and underlying medical conditions, long-term care residents remain at higher risk when it comes to the impact of COVID-19 compared to the general population.

As of June 28, 2021, it is estimated that, across Ontario, virtually all long-term care residents are fully immunized and 92 per cent of staff have received at least their first dose, with approximately 84 per cent having two doses.