Ontario Expands Access to Vaccines for Education Workers and More Adults in High-Risk Neighborhoods in Toronto, Peel

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TORONTO – The Ontario government has announced updates to its COVID-19 vaccination plan, saying all teachers in high-risk neighborhoods will soon be able to get vaccinated.

Premier Doug Ford shared the update at a press conference on Wednesday, in which he announced that the province would be subject to a stay-at-home order starting Thursday.

Starting April 12, the premier said education workers across the province who provide daily support to students with special educational needs would now be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, all education workers in high-risk neighborhoods in Toronto and the Region of Peel will be able to get the vaccine.

“As vaccine supply permits, eligibility will expand to high-risk neighborhoods in other sensitive areas, including York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham,” the province said in a statement on Wednesday. .

The news comes as teachers’ unions and advocates have called on the province to expand vaccine eligibility to education workers as the province chooses to keep schools open amid skyrocketing cases disease.

Schools in the Toronto and Peel region are currently closed until at least April 18, after local medical officers of health in both regions used their powers under the Promotion and Protection Act. health this week to suspend in-person learning.

Vaccines to be offered to certain people over 18 in high-risk neighborhoods

The province also added that some people living in areas with the highest transmission rates of the disease would be prioritized to receive a vaccine, starting in the highest-risk areas of Peel and Toronto.

The government said it was targeting regions based on “established patterns of transmission, severe disease and mortality.” Some priority neighborhoods have already been identified, including the following areas:red light districts

The province said it was setting up mobile teams and pop-up clinics to target high-risk gathering places, residential buildings, church facilities, community centers and locations occupied by large employers in sensitive neighborhoods. .

Premier Ford has said people over the age of 18 in these settings would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We go to high priority neighborhoods, literally knocking on doors to attract people,” Ford told reporters on Wednesday.

“The plan is to put needles in people’s arms. We go to places of worship, we go to businesses, we go to neighborhoods and we focus on those neighborhoods.

Officials said the province will also extend bookings for appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 50 and over in high-risk neighborhoods from Friday.

“Reservation eligibility will be extended to include people aged 50 and over for COVID-19 vaccination appointments at mass vaccination clinics in high-risk areas identified by zip code, in using the provincial reservation system, ”the province said.

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