Peel’s top doctor says the region will begin moving through five-year age groups every week as it aims to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the hot spot.
The top doctor for Peel Region said he hopes the move will help control the spread of COVID-19 variants of concern that are threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system.
Dr. Lawrence Loh says he is optimistic that the plan will allow the region, which has high rates of COVID-19, to exit the pandemic sooner.
“We are at a very critical juncture with the increase in variants of concern and the frustration with the measures that are in place and our resources being strained to a maximum,” Dr. Loh said Thursday.
“However, I am hopeful, because vaccination is here, and while it will need time to be successful, it will position us well to ultimately prevent the fourth wave.”
Region officials say they will start vaccinating people aged 50 and older on Monday and will descend through the age ranges in five-year increments each week.
They warn that the timeline could be extended depending on vaccine supply or if uptake in an age group is higher than predicted.
They estimate that they will be able to give 65 percent of Peel Region’s total population their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by early June.
The region will use mass vaccination clinics for most people and mobile units to provide shots to those in hard-hit areas determined by the province.
All vaccine clinics in Peel Region began accepting bookings for individuals 60 years or older to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments as of April 2.
Peel’s latest vaccine timeline was laid out as a stay-at-home order took effect across the province on Thursday.
As part of the announcement, the province said that while Ontario schools will remain open in regions where it’s permitted, beginning during the April break, education workers who provide daily support to students with special education needs and all education workers in high-risk neighbourhoods across Toronto and Peel, will be eligible to get a vaccine.
The Ford government says mobile teams will be arranged to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals aged 18-and-up.
Ontario reported 3,295 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 19 more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 933 new cases in Toronto, 649 in Peel Region, and 386 in York Region.
She also said there are 165 new cases in Durham Region and 160 in Ottawa.
More than 63,800 tests were completed since the last report.