Ontario ramps up vaccinations, with people 55 and older eligible for the Pfizer vaccine on April 30

'Predictable and increased' COVID-19 vaccine supply from federal government means everyone 18 and over will be eligible by end of May

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo: Lisa Ferdinando)
A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo: Lisa Ferdinando)

With Ontario expecting to receive 800,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the beginning of May and up to 940,000 doses per week by the end of May, people aged 55 and older across the province will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment through the provincial government’s booking system as of 8 a.m. on Friday (April 30).

Health minister Christine Elliott made the announcement at a media briefing at Queen’s Park on Thursday (April 29).

“Beginning next week, Ontarians will begin receiving a more predictable and increased supply from the federal government,” Elliott said. “This will allow the province and our partners to further accelerate our vaccine rollout and get more shots into arms.”

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Elliott added the province will focus at the beginning of May on getting vaccines to those most at risk, by increasing the supply of vaccines to hot spot communities such as Toronto and Peel by more than one million doses.

During the first two weeks of May, the province will dedicate half of the upcoming vaccine doses to hot spot communities as identified by postal code. Vaccines will be administered through mobile teams, pop-up clinics, mass immunization clinics, hospitals, primary care providers, and pharmacies.

“At the same time, an increased supply of vaccines means we will not be taking vaccines from other public health regions,” Elliott stressed, adding that their allocations will remain the same as previously planned and will increase later in May.

With the more predictable supply of vaccines from the federal government, Elliott said Ontario expects to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to additional age groups throughout May as follows:

  • 50 and older during the week of May 3
  • 40 and older during the week of May 10
  • 30 and older during the week of May 17
  • 18 and older during the week of May 24

In hot spot communities, people 45 and older have been eligible for vaccinations since April 27. During the week of May 3, people 18 and older in hot spot communities will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

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“This is exciting news,” Elliott said. “The way out of the pandemic is vaccines, and the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter every day. However, until the majority of Ontarians have received both doses of the vaccine, we all must continue to follow the public health measures we know work and keep us safe.”

Elliott encouraged all Ontarians to book an appointment as soon as it’s their turn, saying “The best vaccine remains the first one you’re offered.”

In addition to the increased eligibility, the province will launch a pilot project on Friday at selected pharmacies in hot spot communities to administer the Pfizer vaccine to people aged 55 and older.

Eight pharmacies in Peel and eight in Toronto will participate in the pilot, with each location receiving approximately 150 doses per week.

The government also announced the first employer-operated workplace clinics will begin in hot spot communities within Peel Region. Maple Lodge Farms and Maple Leaf Foods have begun vaccinating employees in partnership with Peel Public Health and Amazon preparing to do the same. All three workplace clinics will also offer access to vaccines to the local community.