Ontarians aged 80 and older will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the third week of March, with the province planning to target seniors in decreasing five-year age increments until 60-year-olds get the shot in July.
Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province’s vaccine rollout, announced the timeline Wednesday while noting the schedule is dependent on supply. He did not provide details on when residents younger than 60 could expect a vaccine
An online booking system and service desk will become available on March 15 and people in that 80 and older age range, or those booking for them, can access it, Hillier said.
Residents will be notified about the availability of vaccines through media announcements, flyers delivered to households and calls from health units, said Hillier, who asked that families and community groups help those 80 and over book their shots.
“Let’s make sure we look after them and help them get that appointment,” he said.
Ontario aims to vaccinate adults aged 75 and older starting April 15, and those 70 and older starting May 1.
People aged 65 and older will be vaccinated starting June 1, and those 60 and older can get their shots the following month.
Vaccinations in populations considered high-risk, including Indigenous adults, will be ongoing as the province targets seniors.
Essential workers will likely begin getting their shots in May if supply allows, but the government is still deciding who will be in that group.
Critics said the government was taking too long to launch the online booking portal and get seniors their shots.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it’s “terrifying” that vaccines for those 80 and older won’t be available until mid-March given that the province has recently loosened public health restrictions.