Ontario Unveils New Details About Who Will Become Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine During Phase 2

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Ontario Unveils New Details About Who Will Become Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine During Phase 2


TORONTO – Adults over 50 living in neighborhoods susceptible to COVID-19, various frontline workers and those with a wide range of health conditions will soon be eligible for a vaccine as Ontario prepares for deploy phase 2 of its vaccination plan.
A new document released by the province on Tuesday night indicates exactly who will be eligible once Phase 2 officially begins in April. The document includes some changes to the original plan and provides more details on who is eligible.

One of the changes brought about by the revised guidelines provided by the province is that adults over the age of 50 in certain sensitive neighborhoods will be eligible for phase 2.

Most public health units in the Greater Toronto Area have been recognized by the province to contain sensitive areas with increased transmission of COVID-19.

In Toronto, public health officials have identified the northwestern part of the city and parts of Scarborough as areas with high transmission of COVID-19.

The province says adults living in sensitive areas should be vaccinated, starting with the oldest and working down to those 50 and over.

Adults 50 and older in communities most at risk will be offered vaccines in April, while those in communities in remaining hot spots will be offered vaccines in May.

Those with health problems included

The new guidelines also spell out exactly what kind of conditions people will qualify for a phase 2 vaccine. Those with health problems are divided into three groups: highest risk, high risk, and at risk.

People in the highest risk category will be prioritized first. They include organ transplant recipients, some stem cell recipients, those with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised, those with hematological cancers, and those with kidney disease.

The second priority group includes people who are obese, those receiving treatments that induce immunosuppression, and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The third group includes a wide range of conditions including stroke, autoimmune disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, dementia, all other types of cancer, heart disease, hypertension with lesions of the end organs, mental disorders, substance use disorders, sickle cell anemia, pregnancy, immunosuppressive health conditions, liver disease, spleen problems, thalassemia and disabilities requiring direct supportive care in the community.

The province says the identified health issues are those that increase the risk of serious consequences from COVID-19 infection.

The highest-risk group and their caregivers will be offered a vaccine in early April, followed by the next group in late April and the third group in mid-May.

Ontario health officials also recognize that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the province will evolve at a different rate depending on the region in which people live.

In the guidance document, the province says it “tries to ensure provincial consistency while maintaining regional and local flexibility to respond to local and regional contacts and data.”

Provincial officials also recognize that “it is likely that vaccination of phase 2 populations will begin before all phase 1 populations have been offered the first dose of vaccine, and that there will be an overlap of the end of the vaccine. phase 1 at the start of phase 2. ”

Anyone who becomes eligible for phase 1 will continue to be eligible for phase 2 and beyond.

The document reflects the reality that is already unfolding on the ground. Some public health units have already started vaccinating people aged 70 and over, despite provincial guidelines that the age group will not start receiving the vaccines until the end of April.

And despite the fact that the guidance document still says those 75 and over will become eligible in early April, the province opened vaccine bookings to every 75 and over on Monday.

Many essential workers included

Generally speaking, adults between the ages of 60 and 79, those living in high-risk communities, and essential workers who cannot work from home are also among those included in phase 2.

The first group of workers includes education workers, school bus drivers, food industry workers and others.

The second group includes front-facing government workers, essential retail workers, restaurant workers, social workers, court workers, transit workers, and others.

A full list of those who are eligible is posted on the province’s website.

Phase 2 officially runs from April to July and will include 9 million people, according to the provincial plan.

Phase 3, where any adult under 59 can get vaccinated, is officially scheduled to begin in July.

However, officials said the program is expected to progress more quickly, with vaccines expected to arrive in larger quantities and with a policy adopted to space the first and second doses four months apart.

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