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With the arrival of increased vaccine deliveries from the federal government starting this week, the Ontario government is further expanding its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan with the launch of mobile vaccine units for small to medium-sized businesses in hot spot communities. These mobile units will begin offering vaccinations in Toronto, York and Peel at select businesses that have employees who cannot work from home and have a history or risk of outbreaks. Each public health unit will determine the small to medium-sized businesses where mobile units will be deployed.
“The new mobile units for at-risk businesses are another step in our efforts to get more people in priority areas vaccinated as conveniently and as quickly as possible,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “These mobile units are designed to be rapidly deployed to a diversity of small to medium-sized workplaces and will help strengthen our capacity to reach areas where the need is greatest.”
Starting May 7, an initial rollout of up to five mobile units is planned with a possible expansion of up to 15 units once the program is fully established. Each mobile unit will be equipped with the necessary staff, vaccines and resources to immunize all employees at the selected workplaces.
In addition to the mobile units, employer-led workplace vaccination clinics organized by large companies such as Maple Lodge Farms, Maple Leaf Foods and Amazon Canada in Peel Region have been completed or are underway. In partnership with Peel Public Health, Loblaw Companies, Walmart Canada, HelloFresh, Magna, Air Canada and Purolator Inc. are also setting up workplace vaccination clinics this month for workers who cannot work from home. A workplace vaccination clinic will also be operationalized at the Ontario Food Terminal, the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada, starting May 10.
“With a stable and reliable of supply of vaccines expected this month, our government is further accelerating our vaccine rollout with a focus on individuals and settings most at risk,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Vaccines remain our best defence against COVID-19, and I strongly encourage all Ontarians to schedule their appointment as soon as it’s their turn to help protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.”
Ontario continues to expand eligibility and access at mass vaccinations sites, hospital clinics and pharmacies. The province is making significant progress with more than 5.5 million Ontarians vaccinated and is on track to have administered first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.
To maximize capacity and quickly vaccinate as many Ontarians as possible, the province is expanding use of the Moderna vaccine to the pharmacy channel this week. Up to 60 pharmacies will participate, with locations in each of Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex and York public health regions’ hot spot areas for individuals aged 18 and over. Further expansion of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy channel will continue through May. Participating pharmacies will be identified on the website as they begin offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and will continue to use their own booking system for appointments.
As of May 6, 2021 at 8 a.m., the province will expand booking eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine appointments to individuals aged 50 and over, individuals with high-risk health conditions, Group One of people who cannot work from home and, in addition to the other channels previously available to book their appointment, First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals. Appointments can be booked through the provincial booking system and booking line or directly through public health units that use their own booking system.
Eligible populations who have only been able to book via the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line will now also be able to book online, including individuals with the highest risk health conditions, child care workers in licensed child care settings and education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs.