Healthcare workers at-risk of contracting COVID-19, emergency responders and Ontario’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis residents will soon be able to book their second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, ahead of the expected four-month interval.

Ontario says residents will become eligible by the end of this week, and more details will be provided soon. The province notes this has become possible due to a recent increase in Ontario’s vaccine supplies.

High-risk workers who will be eligible for the shortened second-dose interval are:

- All hospital and acute care staff in front-line roles with COVID-19 patients and/or with a high-risk of exposure to COVID-19, including nurses and personal support workers and those performing aerosol-generating procedures such as critical care units, emergency departments, COVID-19 medical units, code blue teams, rapid response teams, and general internal medicine and other specialists involved in the direct care of COVID-19 positive patients.

- All patient-facing healthcare working involved in the COVID-19 response, such as COVID-19 specimen collection centres, teams supporting outbreak response such as IPAC teams, inspectors in the patient environment, redeployed healthcare workers supporting outbreaks, COVID-19 vaccine clinics, mobile immunization teams, mobile testing teams, COVID-19 isolation centres, COVID-19 laboratory services, and current members of Ontario’s Emergency Medical Assistance Team.

- Medical first responders such as staff with Ornge, paramedics, firefighters providing medical first response as part of their regular duties, and police and special constables providing medical first response as part of their regular duties.

- Community healthcare workers serving specialized populations including needle exchange programs and supervised consumption and treatment services, Indigenous healthcare service providers, Aboriginal health access centres, Indigenous community health centres, Indigenous primary care teams and Indigenous Nurse Practitioner-led clinics.

- Long-term care home and retirement home healthcare workers, including nurses, personal support workers and essential caregivers.

- Individuals working in community health centres serving disproportionately affected communities and/or communities experiencing the highest-burden of health, social and economic impacts from COVID-19.

- Critical healthcare workers in remote and hard to access communities.

- Home and community healthcare workers, including nurses and personal support workers caring for recipients of chronic home-care and seniors in congregate living facilities or providing hands-on care to COVID-19 patients in the community.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, says Ontario is on track to administer a first dose to 65 percent of all Ontario adults by the end of this month.

Ontario’s announcement is in addition to the vaccine eligibility expanding to those with at-risk health conditions, residents aged 40 and older and a new group of essential workers who cannot work from home later this week.

A timeline available from the Northwestern Health Unit anticipates those 30 and older will be able to book their appointments as of the week of May 17, and those 18 and older will become eligible as of the week of May 24.

Further information on booking your COVID-19 vaccine can be found HERE.

Everyone is asked to continue following all public health measures and to stay home, self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known. You’re reminded you are still vulnerable after receiving one or both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine.