Ontario logs 1,054 new coronavirus cases, 9 more deaths

Ontario prepares for phase two of vaccine rollout amidst delays

Ontario prepares for phase two of vaccine rollout amidst delays

"Our plan is in place, we're rolling it out", Hillier told reporters.

Once the platform is launched, people 80 and older in Ontario can begin booking their appointments starting on March 15.

"Starting the 15th of April, it will be 75 year olds and plus", he said.

Essential workers could receive shots in May if supply allows but the government is still deciding who will be in that group.

He also said the timeline could move up if more vaccines are approved by federal regulators.

With confidence in vaccine supply through to June, Hillier said he expects Ontario communities will able to administer at least 340,000 vaccine doses per day.

"I'd love to say, yeah, you know, by Labour Day weekend we're gonna have every single person in Ontario who is eligible and who wants a vaccine to have one".

As for the March 15th launch of the online booking and call centre system, Hillier urged people outside of the 80-plus age bracket not to use the system unless they are helping someone in that age bracket to get an appointment.

Ontario finished offering the first dose of vaccine to all long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents on February 14 and Hillier said the province is in the process of completing those immunizations.

"We don't need those people to book appointments, we have a different methodology", Hillier said. "I would have liked to have had it earlier, quite frankly, that and the customer service desk, but we have it nearly ready".

"Unless you're 80-years-old or unless you're acting to get a reservation for somebody who is 80-years-old or more, please do not go online".

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"They put up their website [and] bang, it crashed".

"We will take advantage of all of it", Hillier said. "We are doing more than Alberta".

Meanwhile, Ontario optometrists say they have been rejected after offering to administer the vaccine.

Phase three covers the general population, at which point all individuals who wish to be vaccinated will receive the vaccine.

The province says 307 people are in hospital and 56 of them are in intensive care.

"The bottom line is we need vaccines". "If we have another interruption in vaccines, obviously that would slow that process". "But right now, we are making sure that we vaccinate the most vulnerable, making sure that we focus on the front-line caregivers".

The province has said it administered 602,848 doses of a vaccine to residents so far and that 251,590 of those people have received their second shot and are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Vaccinations in populations considered high-risk, including Indigenous adults, will continue during that phase, and essential workers will begin getting their shots in May.

Vaccinations of other age brackets in descending order will follow, although Hillier provided no specific dates for other age brackets. Another focus is on vaccinations in remote communities, mainly in northern Ontario, including First Nations.

Of the cases reported today there are 188 people under 19 years old, 401 people between 20 and 39 years old, 322 people between 40 and 59 years old, 115 people between 60 and 79 years old, and 28 people over the age of 80.

Hillier said these locations could include mass vaccination clinics, a pharmacy, or potentially a "mini-mass vaccination clinics", where primary care professionals would come together to create a smaller clinic for their patients and others.

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