Ontario government prioritizes vulnerable populations in initial vaccine distribution plans

Premier Doug Ford during today's press conference at Queen's Park. Ontario Premier Doug Ford at today's press conference in Queen's Park discusses distribution plans for the initial rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. (Photo Credit: CPAC/YouTube).

The Ontario government and its COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force will prioritize early vaccine distribution to vulnerable populations and health care providers.

“We must deploy these first shipments of a safe and effective vaccine where they will make the most impact and save lives. That means vaccinating our vulnerable seniors and those who care for them as soon as possible,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “We are working diligently with General Hillier and the task force to ensure anyone in Ontario who needs a vaccine will get one when we receive them from the federal government.”

The groups set to receive early vaccine doses within the first month of the immunization program include:

  • Residents, staff, essential caregivers, and other employees of congregate living settings (e.g., long-term care homes and retirement homes) that provide care for seniors as they are at higher risk of infection and serious illness from COVID-19
  • Health care workers, including hospital employees, other staff who work or study in hospitals, and other health care personnel
  • Adults in Indigenous communities, including remote communities where the risk of transmission is high
  • Adult recipients of chronic home health care.

“Our first shipments of a very small number of doses could arrive as early as next week, but we’re still very far from having the millions of vaccines we need for mass immunization,” said Ford on Monday.

“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all Ontarians, so we will make sure that no matter where they are receiving a vaccine, they will have a fast and safe immunization experience,” added Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.

Vaccine rollout will prioritize regions with high transmission, including those in the Red-Control and Lockdown zones, with a focus on vulnerable populations and healthcare workers.

The Niagara Region remains, for now, in the Orange-Restrict tier, one below Red-Control and two below lockdown.

Vaccines are expected to be available to non-pregnant adults over the age of 18, based on clinical trials. As more information becomes available, the vaccine task force will release details related to the implementation of the immunization program.

The vaccine is expected to be an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Vaccines will become available once it has been approved by Health Canada and clinical trials have determined it to be safe and effective. Once vaccines are approved, Health Canada will continue to monitor them to ensure continue to be safe for use.  

More info:

Original news release
Press conference video