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Peel Region says it will lower the age range to get a COVID vaccine each week

Written by on April 8, 2021

TORONTO — Peel’s top doctor says the region will begin moving through five-year age groups every week as it aims to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the hot spot.

Dr. Lawrence Loh says he is optimistic that the plan will allow the region, which has high rates of COVID-19, to exit the pandemic sooner.

Region officials say they will start vaccinating people aged 50 and older on Monday, and will descend through the age ranges in five year increments each week.

They warn that timeline could be extended depending on vaccine supply or if uptake in an age group is higher than predicted.

They estimate that they will be able to give 65 per cent of Peel Region’s total population their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by early June.

The region will use mass vaccination clinics for most people and mobile units to provide shots to those in hard-hit areas determined by the province.

Peel’s latest vaccine timeline was laid out as a stay-at-home order took effect across the province on Thursday. 

Ontarians received emergency alerts on their cellphones, radios and televisions Thursday morning telling them to stay home.

The message, sent by the Ministry of the Solicitor General through the province’s Alert Ready broadcast system, asked people to only leave their homes for essential purposes such as food, healthcare, exercise or work.

The province used a similar emergency alert in January to communicate the start of a stay-at-home order when COVID-19 cases spiked at that time.

Premier Doug Ford announced the latest stay-at-home order on Wednesday, saying it was prompted by a surge in cases driven by more infectious variants.

Stores that sell goods such as groceries, cleaning supplies and pharmacy products can remain open but only to sell essential items. 

Non-essential retail can open for curbside pickup or delivery only.

The province declared the third state of emergency since the start of the pandemic to invoke the new measures.

Ontario reported 3,295 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 19 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 933 new cases in Toronto, 649 in Peel Region, and 386 in York Region.

She also said there are 165 new cases in Durham Region and 160 in Ottawa.

More than 63,800 tests were completed since the last report.

There are 1,417 people hospitalized in Ontario because of COVID-19, with 525 in intensive care and 318 on a ventilator.

Ontario said 108,563 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province since Wednesday’s report.

A total of 2,834,784 vaccine doses have been given in Ontario so far.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press