Ontario’s vaccine rollout could look different across health units: Solicitor General

Published February 22, 2021 at 9:02 pm


TORONTO — Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout could look different in each of its 34 public health units as the province receives more doses in the coming weeks.

The province’s Solicitor General says each health unit has drawn up a unique plan to distribute the vaccine and all have been submitted to the government for approval.

Sylvia Jones says while the health units must follow the province’s plan to vaccinate priority populations first, they can also determine the best way to serve the needs of their communities.

Jones says that may mean some have mass vaccination clinics, while other conduct active outreach to vulnerable seniors to arrange the shots.

Ontario is expecting to receive a more steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks as delivery issues that previously slowed the rollout are resolved.

Opposition leader Andrea Horwath says the province needs to take a more active approach to the local rollouts and ensure all health units have the necessary resources.

The province has so far been focused on vaccinating the highest priority groups, which include residents and staff in long-term care homes.

Residents aged 80 and older, Indigenous adults, and seniors in congregate care have been identified as the next in line for the shot.

A total of 569,455 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario so far.

Ontario reported 1,058 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths linked to the virus on Monday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 325 new cases in Toronto, 215 in Peel Region, and 87 in York Region.

York Region returned to the province’s colour-coded system of pandemic restrictions on Monday, while a stay-at-home order remained in effect for three other areas.

York has long logged some of Ontario’s highest COVID-19 case counts, but the region’s chief medical officer of health requested that the province move it back to the tiered framework to bring it in line with most of Ontario’s other public health units.

The move means certain businesses that had been shuttered for weeks were allowed to open with restrictions in place.

A stay-at-home order now remains in effect only for Toronto, Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound until at least March 8.

The Canadian Press

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