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The Canadian Press

Who have provinces pegged to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks?

As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. The military commander handling logistics for Canada’s vaccine distribution program says there will be enough vaccine delivered to give a first dose before Canada Day to every adult who wants one. Maj.-Gen.

Dany Fortin says that’s if provinces follow the advice to delay second doses up to four months. He also cautions that it is dependent on having no production delays again. Health Canada anticipates a total of 36.5 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India by June 30.

Canadian provinces suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in people under age 55 on Monday, acting on an advisory committee’s concerns about a possible link between the shot and rare blood clots. Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief medical officer of health, said the risk of developing a serious problem after being immunized is “very, very low.” She said people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine should look for symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, sudden onset of severe or persistent headache or blurred vision and skin bruising elsewhere than the site of vaccination, developing four to 20 days after vaccination.

There are approximately 31 million Canadians over 16, and no vaccines are approved for anyone younger than 16. Here’s a list of the inoculation plans throughout Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador Health officials say vaccinations have begun for first responders. They say pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccines has opened for people aged 70 or older and for home-support workers.

Newfoundland and Labrador announced March 3 it was extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials said the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said the decision is a game changer for the province’s vaccination prospects. — Nova Scotia Health officials say people aged 60 to 62 became eligible to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine starting March 18.

Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. The province is planning to use mobile van clinics to vaccinate about 900 people who work at or use homeless shelters in the Halifax area. Public health is partnering with pharmacists and doctors to provide the vaccines at 25 locations.

Nova Scotia, meanwhile, has added front-line police officers to the list of people eligible for vaccination during the second phase of the province’s rollout plan, joining groups such as long-haul truck drivers and hospital workers over the age of 60. — Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. The province is offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine people ages 18 to 29 who work in gas stations and convenience or grocery stores. The announcement on March 16 came after the province opened AstraZeneca vaccination appointments a week earlier to young people in the food and beverage sector. — New Brunswick Health officials announced March 18 that people 80 and older, health-care professionals who have close contact with patients, and people with complex medical conditions are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

People 80 and over, a caregiver or a family member acting on their behalf can make an appointment for a vaccine at a pharmacy. The province says all residents of long-term care homes have been offered at least one dose of vaccine. As of March 19, all residents of First Nations communities who are aged 16 or older were given access to their first dose of vaccine. — Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on March 1 after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care.

In Montreal, mass vaccine sites, including the Olympic Stadium, opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. COVID-19 vaccination appointments opened March 10 for residents 70 and older across Quebec. The minimum age is currently set at 65 in Abitibi-Temiscamingue and Cote-Nord.

However, Montreal is dropping the age limit to 60. Premier Francois Legault says his government’s goal is for all adult Quebecers who want a COVID-19 vaccine to get at least one dose by the province’s Fete nationale on June 24. He also said the province’s vaccination campaign will allow all Quebecers aged 65 and over to be vaccinated with one dose by mid-April.

Quebec, meanwhile, is looking to enlist between 20 and 50 companies across the province to operate vaccination hubs to help accelerate its immunization campaign for people under 60. Health Minister Christian Dube says he’s hoping the companies can administer a total of one million vaccines. To be part of the program, companies must commit to vaccinating between 15,000 and 25,000 people over a 12-week period between May and August.

Quebec will provide the vaccines and necessary equipment and run the online appointment portal. The program will begin when residents under the age of 60 become eligible to be vaccinated, with a goal of fully vaccinating 500,000 Quebecers. — Ontario Ontario launched its COVID-19 vaccine booking portal and call centre on March 15. People aged 80 and older were the first eligible to use the system.

Starting March 22, people age 75 and older were able to make appointments through the booking system. On Mar.

28 the government lowered the minimum age for vaccine eligibility in several public health units from 75 down to 70. It also announced that people aged 70 and older in York Region, who had previously only been able to book vaccines through the regional service, could start using the provincial system to make appointments.

Also in York Region, a drive-thru, appointment only, vaccination site opened at Canada’s Wonderland theme park on Mar.

29. Two more mass vaccination sites are also expected to open in Toronto, where people as young as 70 started getting vaccinated on Mar.

27. Ontario focused its initial vaccine effort on those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, some health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings.

It has said the rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. Some public health units are ahead of the province’s schedule for vaccinations. A pilot project at more than 300 pharmacies in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor Oxford-AstraZeneca started offering shots to those aged 60 to 64 in mid-March.

That program expanded on March 22 to offer shots to people aged 60 and older. Some primary care physicians are also offering Oxford-AstraZeneca shots to eligible patients in that age range. The pharmacy pilot will expand to 700 locations across the province in the coming weeks, then to approximately 1,500 sites as supply becomes available.

Other currently eligible people include front line health-care workers, Indigenous adults and chronic home health-care recipients, and some health units have started vaccinating people experiencing homelessness. The interval between vaccine doses has been extended to four months in Ontario. — Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people 64 and older and First Nations people 44 and older. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months.

Manitoba has now given at least one dose to more than 10 per cent of adults. This week, immunization teams are going to more than 100 congregate living facilities to provide vaccines. More than 11,100 doses have already been administered to people living in these locations.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, has said all adults in the province could have their first dose by the end of June, if supplies are steady. There are supersites in cities where people can get vaccines and pop-up clinics have begun in rural and northern communities for people who are eligible.

Health officials say the province has capacity to deliver 20,000 doses each day, but are currently hindered by limited supply. Manitoba has already indicated it would opt for a four-month interval between doses. The military has also been deployed to northern Manitoba to help vaccination efforts in 23 remote First Nations.

Up to 200 members are helping to set up sites, transport people and administer doses. The goal is to vaccinate 100,000 First Nations people in 100 days. — Saskatchewan The Saskatchewan Health Authority is booking vaccinations for residents 62 and older. The minimum age drops to 50 for people living in the Far North.

Those deemed to be medically vulnerable and those who have underlying health conditions can also get a shot, but have to wait to receive a letter first. Priority health-care workers are also on the list. The province plans to open more drive-thru vaccination clinics once it receives its next shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca shots. — Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said the province expects to offer all Albertans 18 and over a first dose of vaccine by the end of June.

On March 15, residents aged 65 to 74, and First Nations, Inuit and Metis aged 50-plus, were allowed to begin booking. The province had originally not expected to begin this stage of vaccination until April. On March 30, the Alberta government was to begin offering shots to some 945,000 people with underlying health conditions.

That includes people with certain lung, kidney, liver and heart diseases, people treated for cancer in the past year, those with severe mental illness and substance use disorders, and pregnant women. Initially, Albertans born in or before 1963 will be able to book appointments through pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Starting April 5, Alberta Health Services sites will begin taking bookings for those with eligible health conditions born in or before 1959.

More birth years will be added as more vaccine supply arrives. After that, vaccines will be available to more health-care workers and people with jobs in certain congregate living settings, such as jails and homeless shelters. Meat plant workers will also qualify in this phase.

Alberta has also said it will follow other provinces by extending the time between the first dose and the second to four months. — British Columbia British Columbia has decided to bump up its age-based vaccination plan by offering Oxford-AstraZeneca shots to Lower Mainland residents between the ages of 55 and 65. The move comes after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a pause on use of the same vaccine for anyone under 55 on the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization over concerns about rare blood clots.

Beginning Wednesday, those between 55 and 65 can call their local pharmacy and book an appointment. Drop-in service may also be an option at more than 150 participating pharmacies. The province had previously accelerated the timeline for the COVID-19 vaccine by allowing people who are “extremely clinically vulnerable” and some seniors to book their shots earlier than expected.

That means people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to existing medical conditions, including transplant recipients and those with cancer and severe respiratory conditions, can register for their vaccine. — Nunavut Nunavut has opened vaccinations to anyone 18 and older. The territory expects to finish its vaccine rollout of first and second doses by the end of April. — Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories is also providing vaccine to those 18 and older and expects to finish its rollout by the end of April. — Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers.

People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. — This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press