Ontario plans to vaccinate nursing-home residents, staff and essential workers by Feb. 15

Ontario plans to vaccinate nursing-home residents, staff and essential workers by Feb. 15
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Ontario says it is aiming to have first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the arms of nursing-home residents, staff and essential workers by Feb. 15, with shots for essential workers such as first responders starting around that time.

Public health officials provided general details of the plan, which is still under development, at a background briefing Wednesday, including expectations of larger shipments of vaccines starting in the first week of February and an increase to 38 vaccination sites across the province by then.

To date, nursing-home vaccinations have been completed in Windsor-Essex and are well underway in the other priority zones of Toronto, Peel and York as the province enters a second state of emergency with warnings hospitals could soon be overwhelmed with cases.

Premier Doug Ford was to hold a news conference on the plan Wednesday afternoon amid criticisms the provincial rollout of vaccinations has been too slow and lacks specific.

“So far, your government has not provided a concrete, thorough plan, with targets and regular reporting,” Liberal MPP John Fraser (Ottawa South) wrote in a letter Wednesday to Health Minister Christine Elliott.

Officials said the government and its advisers are working on a list of essential workers who would qualify for early vaccinations and the order in which they would be given jabs, with older workers in each category — such as teachers — being vaccinated before younger ones.

Ontarians over the age of 80 are another priority group. They will get vaccinated before other congregate living settings such as group homes and jails and before people between the ages of 16 and 60, who are expected to get shots in mid-June, depending on availability of supplies.

Once the over 80s are vaccinated, the call for people to get shots will go in five-year increments, starting with adults over 75 and so on.

The province is now getting 80,000 doses a week of the Pfizer vaccine for the rest of the month but that will rise to 143,000 in the first week of February, allowing the pace of vaccinations to increase.
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