Most Peel residents were already eligible to book appointments because of the high number of hotspot neighbourhoods in the region.
But during a press conference on Wednesday, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie revealed that the Ford government has now agreed to expand eligibility to the two Mississauga neighbourhoods and the one Caledon neighbourhood that were not previously included in the province’s list of 114 hotspot postal codes.
That means that all Peel residents who are above the age of 18 will be able to book an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through the provincial booking platform as of 8 a.m. tomorrow.
“We will all be eligible for the vaccine as of 8 a.m. tomorrow. This is important because a handful of postal codes in Peel were not considered hot spots in the province, yet they had higher case counts and higher hospitalization rates than some of the other hot spots identified by the province,” she said.
Toronto to open up 60,000 more appointments
The move to expand eligibility in Peel to every adult comes amid a provincial push to provide at least one dose to 65 per cent of Ontarians above the age of 18 by the end of May.
The push will see younger and younger age cohorts become eligible to receive a vaccine in the coming weeks, though appointment availability could eventually become an issue.
During a briefing at Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, officials revealed that more than 95 per cent of the thousands of appointments available at the city’s mass immunization clinics are now booked up for the better part of the next month.
The city says that it will open up 60,000 additional appointments for the week of June 7 tomorrow morning as eligibility widens to include residents 50 and up and some frontline workers.
“We are making every single appointment available that we can, in accordance with the vaccine that's being provided,” Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who is leading the city’s vaccine task force, told reporters. “If as time moves on additional vaccine ends up being made available to us in the City of Toronto we are immediately ready to expand our clinic operations as are our hospital partners,” he said.
Approximately 223,000 people have booked appointments at city-run vaccination clinics in Toronto since eligibility was expanded to include all adults in hotspot postal codes on Monday morning.
Pegg said that the number of appointments left at city-run clinics is now “in the tens” through the end of May, which could mean that some people might have to wait a little longer to get a chance to roll up their sleeves even as the province aggressively widens eligibility.
Appointments at all city-run clinics are already 99 per cent booked for this week and 93 per cent booked for next week.
“We are opening every single appointment that is available on a one to one basis with the amount of vaccine we have to administer. So there really is no other secret formula, other than having more vaccine that can be made available and in the event and in the time when more and more vaccine is made available we have capacity in our clinic system to do more every day and every week,” Pegg said.