ontario vaccine

Ontario just sped up second doses of the COVID vaccine and here's how you can get yours

The Government of Ontario has accelerated its timeline for administering second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine yet again, rendering some new groups immediately eligible to book their next shot.

After what was a slow, rocky and all-around frustrating start to the rollout, the province has finally ramped things up enough to get more first doses into more arms earlier than anticipated, which means that second doses were also expedited — now, twice.

Last week, Premier Doug Ford revealed that second appointments were opening early to certain priority groups, and that he and his team are expecting to have all adults in the province fully vaxxed before the end of summer.

The plan was to start with citizens 80 and older on May 31, then those 70 and older starting June 14, followed by cohorts of residents who got their first dose within certain windows (those who received a vaccine between March 8 and April 18 and/or have the highest risk health conditions, for example, were due to be able to sign up for their second by June 28).

But, Health Minister Christine Elliott insinuated just yesterday that these tentative dates may be expedited — and now they officially have been.

As of June 4, additional groups of residents can indeed book a slot for their second immunization against the virus through primary care settings such as hospitals and pharmacies.

And, as of 8 a.m. on June 7, these same groups will be able to book through the provincial booking portal if they so choose.

Some may be able to secure appointments even earlier than this time through their local public health units, which the government said in a release on Friday have the power to potentially expand eligibility sooner.

The demographics newly able to book at this time are those 70 and older and/or any Ontarian of any age who received their initial jab of an mRNA vaccine — that is, the Pfizer or Moderna — on or before April 18.

This is a notably larger segment of the population permitted to move up their second dose earlier than anyone had anticipated; up until now, it was only residents 80+ who were slated to be able to book their next appointment on or before June 7, with other groups having to wait weeks longer to vie for a spot.

It signifies a major win for the provincial government and for its residents, who are eagerly looking forward to the freedoms of a two-dose summer where they can actually frequent their favourite businesses again.

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