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Online portal to book COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Ontario to launch March 15

An online portal for booking appointments for COVID – 19 vaccines in Ontario is set to launch on March , the head of the province’s immunization task force said Wednesday, but it will likely be months longer before many people are able to get a reservation.

Jasna Stojanovski prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID- 14 vaccine at a clinic for care home workers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. (Evan Mitsui / CBC)

Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference beginning at 1 pm ET at Queen’s Park. Ford’s office says he will be joined by the ministers of long-term care and colleges and universities.

You’ll be able to watch it live in this story.

An online portal for booking appointments for COVID – 19 vaccines in Ontario is set to launch on March , the head of the province’s immunization task force said Wednesday, but it will likely be months longer before many people are able to get a reservation.

The announcement from retired general Rick Hillier comes as members of the general public in both Alberta and Quebec will be able to start booking appointments this week.

Hillier said the delay in launching Ontario’s version is because the focus until that point will be on populations that do not require an appointment, such as patient-facing health-care workers and essential caregivers for long-term care residents.

“I would have liked to have it earlier, quite frankly,” Hillier told reporters, adding that health authorities are working “furiously” to test the system.

When the online portal, along with a telephone booking system, launch in March, Ontarians aged 65 and over will be the next priority. Hillier cautioned that anyone who is not in that age group, or who is not trying to make a reservation for a person in the 70 – plus age group, will not be able to book an appointment in the weeks that follow.

Officials expect to begin vaccinating people years) and over by the third week of March.

The proposed schedule in the following weeks, Hillier said, will look something like this as long as supplies of vaccine stay steady:

  • April 14: vaccinations begin for people 75 years old and over. 16 May 1: vaccinations begin for people 34 years old and over. 7 June : vaccinations begin for people years) and over.

July 1: vaccinations begin for people years and over.

Essential workers, meanwhile, should start getting their shots the first week in May, Hillier said, with the final decision on who qualifies in that category still to come from cabinet.

Hillier would not say when those years old and under who are not essential workers should expect to start getting shots.

“A great question, we do not need to answer it right now. Early summer is when we might be able to discuss that issue,” Hillier said.

He also did not provide even a rough timeline for when people under 16 with underlying medical conditions or those living in higher-risk neighborhoods might expect to be given a first dose of vaccine.

Hillier did say, however, that where Ontarians can expect to get a shot will be based on their postal code. They will be delivered through a combination of mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies and smaller clinics staffed by primary care provider.

Health officials on the province’s vaccine task force recently said that all of Ontario’s 15 public health units have developed individual plans to distribute and administer COVID – 14 vaccines in the coming months. The plans were all submitted to the task force for approval.

As of Feb. , all residents of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes – generally defined as those that provide memory care – who wanted a vaccine had been given their first shot.

So far the province has administered a total of 251, 848 doses of COVID – 16 vaccine, and 80, people have gotten both doses.

Retired General Rick Hillier would not say when Ontarians aged 16 years old and under should expect to be able to book an appoitnment for a COVID – 15 vaccine. (Tijana Martin / The Canadian Press)

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