Ontario hits vaccine target of giving 40 per cent of adults at least one dose


Ontario has arrived early at Premier Doug Ford’s target of giving 40 per cent of Ontario’s adults at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by May 6.

With 107,700 more people vaccinated Saturday, a total of 4.9 million Ontarians have now received at least one dose, or 41 per cent of the province’s adult population, the Star’s vaccine tracker shows.

Ford made the pledge to vaccinate 40 per cent of Ontario adults announcing the province’s current stay-at-home order three weeks ago.

“We need to get the vaccines where they will have the greatest impact as quickly as possible,” he said at the time, also unveiling a plan to target more vaccine doses to hot-spot areas.

On April 6, the day before Ford announced the vaccine target, Toronto-based non-profit ICES revealed data that showed Toronto and Peel neighbourhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus, where thousands of at-risk essential workers live, had until then seen relatively lower rates of vaccination.

Meanwhile, richer neighbourhoods with lower infection risk were among those with the highest vaccination rates.

“How we handle the next four weeks, what we do until we start achieving mass immunization, will be the difference between life and death for thousands of people,” Ford said.

The province at the time said people over 18 living in hot spots would soon be able to get vaccinated. Since then, the rollout of pop-up clinics has been criticized as slow, especially in Peel, the hardest-hit region in the province.

In recent weeks, workplace vaccination clinics have begun operating in the region at Maple Lodge Farms, Maple Leaf Foods and, next week, at Amazon.

Ontario has passed the vaccine target at a time when hospitals are reporting a record 900 patients in intensive care units — a total that s double the worst the province saw at the peak of the second wave in January.

Although Ontario’s hospital numbers remain at or near their worst, the province’s reported infection rate has fallen in the last two weeks.

The premier’s pledge excluded children. Including them, 33 per cent of Ontario’s total population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

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