Ontario health minister Christine Elliott received her first COVID-19 vaccine dose on Monday.
Elliott got the AstraZeneca vaccine on camera at a Toronto pharmacy around 9:15 a.m.
“It’s important for everyone when it’s their turn to get a vaccine,” said Elliott. “The more people that get the vaccine the sooner we can go back to normal life.”
Ontario’s health minister says the province is studying COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy levels as it continues to urge people to get inoculated.
Last week, Elliott said she would be getting the AstraZeneca shot to help combat vaccine hesitancy and prove to residents that the shot is safe and that it prevents hospitalizations and it saves lives.
“All four (vaccines) that have been approved are safe,” said Elliott.
Elliott says some people have expressed concern about the AstraZeneca vaccine or a preference to receive the shot from their own family doctor.
The drugmaker updated the efficacy data for its vaccine last week. They say the shot is 76 percent effective against mild symptoms and 100 percent effective at preventing severe disease from the virus. In trial volunteers aged 65 and older, the vaccine was 85 percent effective in preventing symptoms.
Reports of blood clots among recipients in Europe sparked concerns but the European Medicines Agency has since concluded the vaccine did not raise the overall risk of clots.
Canada is expected to receive another 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot this week.
Ontario expanded its COVID-19 vaccine booking Monday for people 70 years of age and older to additional regions, including several GTA municipalities.
Eligible people can book online or by calling 1-888-999-6488.
Also in York Region, a drive-thru vaccination site opened at Canada’s Wonderland, where a limited number of patients will be able to get vaccines by appointment only.
Two more mass vaccination sites will also open in Toronto, where people as young as 70 started getting vaccinated on Saturday.