The Ontario government announced recently that people over the age of 18 living in neighborhoods disproportionately affected by COVID-19 would be soon eligible for a vaccine.
The government released some details during the provincewide stay-at-home order announcement on Wednesday, but many questions remained on who would be eligible for the expanded rollout and how and when they could book.
CTV News Toronto has looked into these questions, and compiled a list of everything you need to know about the changes.
Who is eligible?
The Ontario government says the province will start vaccinating education workers the week of April 12, including staff who work with special education students and staff in high-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel Region.
The province also said that people in the general population who are over the age of 18 in these neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel Region would also be prioritized for a vaccine.
In these neighbourhoods, officials said they would target people in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based facilities and those working for large employers.
As vaccines become available, officials said eligibility would expand to high-risk neighbourhoods in other hot spot regions, including Durham Region, Halton Region, Hamilton, Niagara Region, Ottawa, Simcoe-Muskoka, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Windsor-Essex and York Region.
So far, the province has identified 25 postal codes in Peel Region and 53 in Toronto as priority spots for the COVID-19 vaccine.
You can search the first three letters of your postal code in our database below to see if your neighbourhood is considered at high risk of COVID-19 transmission.
How can you book?
The province said mobile teams, working with public health units, community groups, and local businesses, will administer vaccines to people over the age of 18 in high-risk areas.
Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in the high-risk neighbourhoods to administer vaccines, including at faith-based locations and community centres.
More details on how to book an appointment through one of these settings will be provided in the near future, in collaboration with Toronto and Peel Public Health, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health said Thursday.
The spokesperson said both the mobile teams and pop-up clinics would not use the provincial booking system.
However, the province will expand the booking eligibility for the system on April 9 to allow people over the age of 50 to book a vaccine in these high-risk neighbourhoods. Currently, the province is allowing people over the age of 60 to use the provincial system to book their vaccine appointments provincewide.
The East Toronto Health Partners announced on Thursday that it is expanding its vaccination efforts to include pop-clinics in high-risk neighbourhoods this week. Its strategy gives an idea of how mobile and pop-up clinics will run other neighbourhoods.
The health network said five pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics are taking place in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park from April 7 to 11, including at Flemingdon Park Shopping Centre, Masjid Darussalam Thorncliffe Mosque, Iqbal Halal Foods and the lobbies and courtyards of select high-rise apartment buildings.
Clinic dates and times are being promoted locally by community organizations in these neighbourhoods, the network said. These pop-up vaccine clinics are open to residents of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park who are 18 years of age and older. No appointment is required.
Residents need to bring with them proof of address, such as a driver’s license, utility bill or another piece of ID or document that indicates they live in the select postal codes.
Where and when can you get the vaccine?
The province said local public health units in hotspot regions are driving the campaign for pop-up clinics and mobile teams, and will determine when and where to administer the doses.
Toronto Public Health told CTV News Toronto on Thursday that it’s working on developing its strategy.
As the provincial government made this announcement just yesterday afternoon, TPH and its health-care partners are working in partnership to develop a strategy that will be shared publicly soon, a spokesperson for the city said
Officials have also not specified an exact date as to when the vaccinations will start, but community partners, like East Toronto Health Partners, have already started organizing pop-up clinics in residential buildings, religious facilities and plazas.