The province continues to make significant progress with more than 7 million Ontarians having received at least one dose of the vaccine, and we are on track to administer first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May. Over 770,000 doses have been administered in the Region of Peel to date.
As the pace of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to accelerate with 2.2 million doses scheduled to arrive this week, our government is extending booking eligibility at mass immunization clinics to individuals aged 18 and over. Moreover, as of today, individuals who are 17 years old and turning 18 in 2021 will be able to eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment for the Pfizer vaccine at select clinics.
While these are encouraging steps, we must continue to do all we can to save lives and reduce hospitalizations by staying home and following public health measures. By working together to stop the spread of COVID-19 we can keep our loved ones and our communities safe.
VACCINATION IN PEEL
Great News for Peel: As of today, Peel clinics will begin administering Pfizer to 16+ to those who live or work in Peel. Registration for youth aged 16 and 17 will be available online using the Region of Peel’s booking system. If residents need help booking, they can call the Region of Peel COVID-19 Vaccination Line at 905-791-5202, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 7 days a week. Note – youth need to be at least 16 years old at the time of vaccination.
The province also announced that as of Tuesday, May 18, public health units may choose to provide vaccines to those aged 12 and over in pop-up and mobile clinics, as well as for walk-in appointments where the Pfizer vaccine is offered. This will include First Nations, Inuit and Métis clinics that offer the Pfizer vaccine.
RAPID TESTING KITS FOR BUSINESSES
The Ontario government has launched a new rapid testing portal to make it easier for all essential businesses to access free rapid testing to help keep employees and their families safe. Through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, Ontario has already delivered more than nine million rapid testing kits to nearly 1,600 workplaces. Test shipments to essential businesses have more than tripled since the beginning of April.
OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
We recognize the impacts that the restrictions on outdoor recreational activities are having on Ontarians. We also recognize and understand that we all want a pandemic-free summer, but to get there we must stay the course until it is safe to lift restrictions. We know that there are several risk factors that help drive the transmission of COVID-19 including mobility, travel outside your region, and socializing with others not in your household without following Public Health Measures.
When restrictions are eased, we want them eased for good, however these measures cannot be rushed. Positivity is on the horizon: over 50% of Ontarians 18+ and 54% of Ontarians 18+ in designated hotspots have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and approximately 1 million vaccines are being administered per week. As the Minister has stated, this day will come soon and perhaps even before the expiry of the State of Emergency, this is currently under review daily by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Until then it is critical that everyone continues to follow public health measures.