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WATCH: More than half of eligible Ontarians have received their first COVID-19 vaccine shot, deputy premier says

Province projects two-thirds of the province will have gotten their first jab by end of May

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a media briefing today that more than half of all Ontario residents have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province is projecting that by the end of May, about two-thirds of all eligible Ontarians will have gotten the shot.

With an eye to tamping down on case rates in hot spot communities, the province allocated 50 per cent of vaccine shipments (more than 500,000 doses) during the weeks of May 3 and May 10, 2021 to the hardest hit areas of the province. 

By the morning of May 11, the province said the targeted rollout resulted, perhaps not surprisingly, in a higher percentage of vaccine coverage in those areas, with more than 54 per cent of those aged 18 and over having received their first dose in hot spot communities.

The Ontario government also announced this week that as early as May 14 front-line health care workers will be eligible to receive their second dose of the vaccine through hospital clinics where they received their first dose.

As previously reported, beginning on May 13 at 8 a.m., people age 40 and up are eligible to book for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at mass immunization clinics, either through the provincial booking system and call centre or directly through public health units.

With vaccine approval for those 12 and up, Elliott was asked whether a COVID-19 vaccine would be made compulsory for students between the ages of 12 and 17. Mentioning that vaccine exemptions are allowed, Elliott said at this time the province is not looking at make it mandatory for students to be vaccinated before returning to in-person learning, "but we encourage people very strongly to get vaccinated."

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.