Ontario expects everyone 18 and over to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by end of May

WATCH ABOVE: The Ontario government is ramping up the vaccine rollout in the coming weeks, aiming to make all adults eligible to book an appointment using the provincial portal by the end of May. Shallima Maharaj has reaction.

Ontario is anticipating that all people age 18 and over will be eligible to book a COVID-19 immunization through the provincial booking system as early as the week of May 24 as vaccine supply is scheduled to increase in the coming weeks.

The province also said those who are age 30-plus are expected to be eligible to schedule an immunization through its online booking system by the week of May 17.

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Beginning 8 a.m. on April 30, people age 55 and over will also be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine through Ontario’s online appointment portal.

A pilot project will also launch that day at eight pharmacies in hot spot communities in Toronto and Peel. Those pharmacies will administer the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to people age 55-plus.

Each pharmacy is expected to receive 150 Pfizer doses per week as part of the pilot project. After an evaluation of the pilot and as supply allows, the province anticipates expanding the program to additional public health unit regions later in May.

As supply ramps up, Ontario also plans to allocate additional vaccine doses to COVID-19 hot spot communities.

Briefing documents show Ontario will provide about a million more vaccine doses to hot spot areas based on the projected supply increase.

During the weeks of May 3 and 10, 50 per cent of vaccine doses will be allocated to hot spots. During the weeks of May 17 and 24, the province anticipates a return to allocation to overall population across the province.

The government said that its hot spot allocation plan will not take vaccines away from other public health unit regions and that those will remain the same as previously planned and will increase later in May.

“Ontario’s vaccine rollout is continuing to focus on getting vaccines to those most at risk,” said Ontario health minister Christine Elliott.

“With a stable and reliable supply of vaccines on the way, we will continue expanding access to the vaccine in communities across the province, especially those areas that continue to be hit hardest by COVID-19.”

Starting next week, Ontario is scheduled to receive nearly 790,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine each week for four weeks.

Then, beginning the week of May 31, the province is scheduled to receive nearly 940,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week for five weeks.

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During the week of May 10, Ontario is expected to receive nearly 390,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials said further allocation is pending for the AstraZeneca vaccine and that provincial allocation isn’t yet known for the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, of which the federal government is expecting 300,000 doses in May.

As of Wednesday evening, Ontario has administered five million vaccine doses across the province. More than 368,000 Ontarians are fully inoculated.

According to the provincial government, 91 per cent of people age 80-plus have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 89 per cent of those age 75 to 79 and 80 per cent of those age 70 to 74 have also gotten their first immunization.

The province said 70 per cent of people age 65 to 69 and 64 per cent of those age 60 to 64 have been inoculated with one dose. Meanwhile, 44 per cent of people age 55 to 59 and 35 per cent of those age 50 to 54 have also received their first dose.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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