COVID-19 Update for February 24 – 2:05PMFebruary 24, 2021
Ontario will launch age-based vaccinations in mid-March, and has earmarked $115 million to train more Personal Support Workers.
Retired General Rick Hillier, Chair of Ontario’s Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution Task Force, announced that the province will begin rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to the general public based on age, starting on March 15.
Until then, over the next three weeks Ontario will focus on getting first and second vaccine doses to residents and essential workers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations communities.
The mass vaccinations starting on March 15 will begin with anyone 80 years of age or older. Each following month, vaccination appointments will become available to people in younger age brackets. For example, Hillier said vaccines should be available to anyone 75+ as of April 15, 70+ as of May 1 and 65 or older as of June 1.
An online portal and call centre will go live on March 15 allowing people book to appointments at the appropriate time for first and second doses in their communities, at a combination of mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies and “mini” clinics.
Information about how to access the booking system will be made available and broadly distributed prior to the launch date.
Hillier said the province is working with Ontario’s 34 public health units to orchestrate the vaccine rollout because of their experience and local understanding managing mass vaccinations. Each health unit will be expected to administer up to 10,000 doses of vaccine per day.
Currently, Ontario is administering an average of 15,000 to 18,000 vaccine doses daily.
8,200 New PSWs
Premier Doug Ford announced $115 million to train 8,200 new Personal Support Workers in Long-Term Care, Home Care, and Community Care this year.
The funding will give 6,000 students access to a tuition-free, fast-track program in all 24 colleges across the province starting in April – enabling them to finish within six months. The government will also be providing $2,000 in tuition assistance to 2,200 Ontario students who are already enrolled in similar programs.
All 8,200 students will be placed in paid learning environments early in their respective programs to boost the amount of available staffing in homes across the province.
You can read the full announcement here.