The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada on Wednesday, Feb

Henrietta Brewer
February 26, 2021

People aged 65 and older will be vaccinated starting June 1, and those 60 and older can get their shots the following month.

Hillier warned that people should not try to access the website outside of their given timeframe as they will not be able to use the system.

Vaccinations in populations considered high-risk, including Indigenous adults, will continue during that phase and essential workers will begin getting their shots in May.

Gen. Hillier said it wasn't necessary to launch the booking system until March 15 because of a lack of vaccine supply from the federal government.

"We don't need to answer it right now".

"Right now in Ontario, we're just over 600,000 people vaccinated", Hillier said.

"Our challenge now is that we still have relatively small numbers [of vaccines], and we still have large numbers of those in most vulnerable circumstances".

Critics said the government was taking too long to launch the online booking portal and get seniors their shots. "I would have liked to have had it earlier, quite frankly, that and the customer service desk, but we have it nearly ready".

He said the plan to vaccinate essential workers at the same time as older adults will complicate efforts, and called for greater transparency on how groups are being prioritized. "This latest Doug Ford fiasco is inexcusable".

"They put up their website [and] bang, it crashed".

"We are now furiously working to do the final stages of preparation, to test it thoroughly, and then to go live with on the 15th of March", Hillier said. "We are doing more than Alberta".

In total, 251,590 people have been fully vaccinated, having received two doses of vaccine. Those individuals are expected to receive their second doses by next week.

Nine students have tested positive for COVID-19 during the four weekend testing clinics, while 11 other people tested positive.

"We actually don't need the online reservation system yet, because we simply don't have the vaccines", he said. "If we have another interruption in vaccines, obviously that would slow that process".

Amidst vaccine delays and supply issues, the Ontario government has administered over 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to phase one priority populations and plans to expand its capacity to immunize phase two populations in the near future.

Vaccinations of other age brackets in descending order will follow, although Hillier provided no specific dates for other age brackets. He said officials are also continuing to focus on remote First Nations communities.

General Rick Hillier (ret) said in a news conference at Queen's Park this morning that vaccinations for people 80 years and over will start in the third week of March, with an online and phone-based appointment system launching on March 15. The agencies will help deliver the vaccine through mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies and mini clinics led by primary care professionals. Residents will be asked to input their postal code, which will then bring up the closest vaccination clinic to their home. "Here's how you'll find out and here's what you should do and here's what you should be prepared for", Hillier said.

Hillier said he would have liked to see the booking system up and running sooner but noted that it hadn't been required for the high-priority populations the province has so far focused on vaccinating, such as those in long-term care.

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