Ontario Launches Mobile Vaccine Units in Hot Spot Workplaces
Province Expects to Administer First Doses to 65 Per Cent of Adults by End of May
May 05, 2021
Ministry of the Solicitor General
TORONTO — With the arrival of increased vaccine deliveries from the federal government starting this week, the Ontario government is further expanding its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan with the launch of mobile vaccine units for small to medium-sized businesses in hot spot communities. These mobile units will begin offering vaccinations in Toronto, York and Peel at select businesses that have employees who cannot work from home and have a history or risk of outbreaks. Each public health unit will determine the small to medium-sized businesses where mobile units will be deployed.
“The new mobile units for at-risk businesses are another step in our efforts to get more people in priority areas vaccinated as conveniently and as quickly as possible,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “These mobile units are designed to be rapidly deployed to a diversity of small to medium-sized workplaces and will help strengthen our capacity to reach areas where the need is greatest.”
Starting May 7, an initial rollout of up to five mobile units is planned with a possible expansion of up to 15 units once the program is fully established. Each mobile unit will be equipped with the necessary staff, vaccines and resources to immunize all employees at the selected workplaces.
In addition to the mobile units, employer-led workplace vaccination clinics organized by large companies such as Maple Lodge Farms, Maple Leaf Foods and Amazon Canada in Peel Region have been completed or are underway. In partnership with Peel Public Health, Loblaw Companies, Walmart Canada, HelloFresh, Magna, Air Canada and Purolator Inc. are also setting up workplace vaccination clinics this month for workers who cannot work from home. A workplace vaccination clinic will also be operationalized at the Ontario Food Terminal, the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada, starting May 10.
“With a stable and reliable of supply of vaccines expected this month, our government is further accelerating our vaccine rollout with a focus on individuals and settings most at risk,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Vaccines remain our best defence against COVID-19, and I strongly encourage all Ontarians to schedule their appointment as soon as it’s their turn to help protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.”
Ontario continues to expand eligibility and access at mass vaccinations sites, hospital clinics and pharmacies. The province is making significant progress with more than 5.5 million Ontarians vaccinated and is on track to have administered first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.
To maximize capacity and quickly vaccinate as many Ontarians as possible, the province is expanding use of the Moderna vaccine to the pharmacy channel this week. Up to 60 pharmacies will participate, with locations in each of Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex and York public health regions’ hot spot areas for individuals aged 18 and over. Further expansion of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy channel will continue through May. Participating pharmacies will be identified on the website as they begin offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and will continue to use their own booking system for appointments.
As of May 6, 2021 at 8 a.m., the province will expand booking eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine appointments to individuals aged 50 and over, individuals with high-risk health conditions, Group One of people who cannot work from home and, in addition to the other channels previously available to book their appointment, First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals. Appointments can be booked through the provincial booking system and booking line or directly through public health units that use their own booking system.
Eligible populations who have only been able to book via the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line will now also be able to book online, including individuals with the highest risk health conditions, child care workers in licensed child care settings and education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs.
Employer-operated on-site clinics are funded, will be set up and operated by participating employers in hot-spot areas, and will vaccinate employees aged 18 or older as well as members of the local and neighbouring communities – many of them being residents in the hot spot areas. They must have the support of local public health units or hospitals to host an onsite vaccine clinic as the program needs to be consistent with local plans, along with other eligibility criteria.
As of May 4, 2021, at 8 p.m., over 5.5 million vaccine doses have been administered across the province, with over 92 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over and 90 per cent of residents aged 75 to 79 having received at least one dose. More than 43 per cent of the population aged 18 and over have received at least one dose and over 381,000 Ontarians are fully immunized, including 95 per cent of long-term care residents.
Ontario has one plan for distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines. How that plan is implemented, and the specific mix of vaccination sites will look a little different across 34 public health units with unique needs and populations. Find out if you live in a hot spot community by visiting Ontario’s website for a list of designated postal codes. Mobile and pop-up clinics in hot spots for those 18 and older will be promoted locally within their target communities and local public health units.
Eligible groups can use Ontario’s vaccine booking system to find out how to schedule an appointment, or can call the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line number at 1-833-943-3900. For general inquiries, individuals can call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line number at 1-888-999-6488. The Provincial Vaccine Booking Line and Information Line are open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is capable of providing assistance in 300 languages.
Pharmacies and primary care settings participating in the rollout are vaccinating individuals aged 40 and over. To book a vaccination appointment at a pharmacy, adults aged 40 and over can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating location and can contact the pharmacy to make an appointment.
Ontarians who are now eligible to book their vaccine appointment are asked to be patient, as it could take time to receive their vaccination. Public health units are responsible for managing and overseeing the distribution and administration of vaccines for their entire region, and public health units may have different vaccine administration rates based on local context.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.