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Ontario Provides Details on Phase Two COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan

Published on
March 5, 2021

This afternoon, Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, provided the much-anticipated details for vaccine rollout to more Ontarians. Phase Two of Ontario’s vaccination plan, which is scheduled to begin in April but could commence sooner based on vaccine supply, will focus on age and risk with the objective of preventing death, illness, hospitalization and ICU admission and, ultimately, to reduce transmission. Among those to be vaccinated in Phase Two are workers who cannot work from home.

The end date for Phase Two is expected to be before the end of June. The timeline has already been accelerated due to vaccine approval (such as the approval this morning of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine), interval decisions (such as the guidance that vaccine doses can be up to four months apart) and vaccine volume. As such, Ontario’s plan will continue to evolve. The material prepared Thursday evening was already out-of-date by the time of the press conference due to the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this morning and the announcement of accelerated deliveries from Pfizer-BioNTech.

As outline by the government, Phase Two Vaccination will include:

  • Older adults, those between 60-79 years of age;
  • Individuals with specific health conditions that make them more at risk and some primary caregivers;
  • People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers;
  • People who live in hot spots with high rates of death, hospitalizations and transmission (13 Public Health Units identified); and
  • Workers who cannot work from home.

Details of the individuals in each of these categories can be found here.

Workers who cannot work remotely will be vaccinated at the end of Phase Two. This category has been divided into two groups based on risk, with all individuals in the group eligible for vaccination at the same time.

Group 1:

  • Elementary / secondary school staff and bus drivers that transport students
  • Workers responding to critical events (e.g., police, fire, compliance, funeral, special constables)
  • Child care workers
  • Licensed foster care workers
  • Food manufacturing workers
  • Agriculture and farm workers

Group 2:

  • High-risk and critical retail workers (grocery and pharmacies)
  • Remaining manufacturing workers
  • Social workers (including youth justice)
  • Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole)
  • Lower-risk retail workers (wholesalers, general goods)
  • Transportation, warehousing and distribution
  • Energy, telecom (data and voice), water and wastewater management
  • Financial services
  • Waste management
  • Mining, oil and gas workers

The channels through which these workers will be vaccinated include mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies, primary care, site-specific clinics, mobile teams and mobile units. Further details will be forthcoming as the timeline for vaccinating this group becomes clearer.

As the details of worker vaccination plans take shape, Sussex is here to connect you with the right people in government to help your organization get through these extraordinary times.

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