Ontario moving up second COVID-19 shots

Ontario Premier Doug Ford holds a news conference on Friday, May 28, 2021 to announce that second doses will be on an accelerated timeline, starting with the most vulnerable on Monday. (Premier of Ontario/YouTube via Newswatch Group)

QUEEN’S PARK – The province is moving up the timeline for people getting second doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Premier Doug Ford held a news conference Friday morning to announce that second shots will roll out much like the first doses did, starting the most vulnerable – those 80 and older – starting Monday (May 31).

Booking for those aged 70 and older will begin two weeks later – the week of June 14.

The original timeline between the first and second doses is 16 weeks.

The accelerated dosing is dependent on vaccine supply but the Ontario government is hopeful that everyone will be fully vaccinated by the end of summer. Ontario expects 4.7 million Pfizer doses next month and 3.5 million in July. It received 4.3 million vaccine doses this month.

As of Thursday night, 8.6 million coronavirus vaccine doses had been given.

For those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine between March 10 to March 19, second doses have already been begun with the accelerated 10-week interval, given that a number of doses the government is holding are set to expire on Monday.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says those AstraZeneca vaccines were quality checked before they were given to the original distribution areas of Kingston, Toronto and Windsor-Essex.

Jones couldn’t say how many doses would be spoiled given the quality control. “We want to make sure that second dose is of the highest quality. We are taking the time to do that. I can’t give you a hard answer on how many we expect will not be able to go through that quality assurance piece,” Jones said.

Premier Ford also addressed getting children back in the classroom, saying he is awaiting input from medical experts before making a decision.