"To further stop the spread of COVID-19 and support Delta hot spots, we are further expanding booking eligibility for an accelerated dose in select regions", Health Minister Christine Elliott said. The government is also encouraging unvaccinated residents in those areas to get a shot.
Anyone who received their vaccine prior to April 18 and anyone over 70 is now eligible to book their second dose.
Starting today (Thursday), those who received their first or both doses outside of Ontario or Canada can contact their PHU to have their COVID-19 immunization record verified and documented in the province's COVAX system.
That being said, Ontario is tracking along the low "best case scenario" track heading into July and August, which would see case counts continue to come down below 500.
As of June 10, Ontario reported more than 10.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to Ontarians.More news: India records highest single-day COVID-19 fatalities
Thursday's move was the province's latest expansion of access to second doses.
There were over 182,000 vaccines and over 31,000 tests done over the last day. The province has now also matched or outpaced Israel in terms of first dose vaccination rates.
Among priority groups, nearly every resident of long-term care homes has been double dosed. He adds that two doses result in 80 to 90 per cent protection, and two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine provides around 60 per cent protection. At the other end, nearly 40 per cent of youths aged 12 to 17 have had one shot. "It is now possible to cautiously begin lifting certain public health and workplace safety measures". That means limited retail shopping and patio dining among other things. He says he thinks a fourth wave is avoidable, especially with a focus on vaccinating hot spots.
One region in northern Ontario, the Porcupine health unit, will hold off on easing restrictions for now as infections soar.More news: Vice President Kamala Harris visit to Mexico
Ontario is reporting just under 600 new COVID-19 cases.
There are now 516 people in hospital with COVID-19, and 450 of them are in the ICU.
The variant, believed to be behind spikes in COVID-19 cases in parts of the United Kingdom, has proven to be more transmissible than previous versions of the virus, according to Muhajarine, who says that variant is outpacing the Alpha variant that was initially detected there. "It is critical to control the spread of this variant". Once complete, these individuals will be able to book their second dose appointment through the provincial booking system, public health units that use their own booking system or participating pharmacies and primary care settings at an interval that aligns with Ontario's vaccine strategy.
"As they work through what they have remaining, then they will be receiving more supplies". "It's important provincially that we prioritize hot spot regions like Peel but it's also important within Peel that we target the groups that are at the highest risk".More news: Democratic congressman accuses Manchin of voting to 'preserve Jim Crow'