Update on Covid-19 inoculations in Ontario

TORONTO – Amid concerns over rising variant-of-concern (VOC) cases and Ontario possibly in a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the focus shifts to scaling up the vaccination campaign.

So far, Ontario has administered more than 1.3 million doses into the arms of citizens. However, that tally is predicated on the fact that at least two doses are required per person to achieve maximum protection against the virus.

This graph represents Ontario’s progress thus far in the vaccination campaign (see above). The dark blue bar represents the population of Ontario, an estimated 14.5 million. Health officials suggest roughly 80% of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.

On the basis of that recommended rate, the light blue bar indicates the estimated number of people (11.6 million) at which point herd immunity is possible.

With the vaccination campaign off to a slow start, the province has capacity to administer 150,000 shots per day. Presently, Ontario is operating at about 25% of full capacity on account of supply availability.

On March 17, the province reported 58,202 doses administered, up from the 51,579 doses the day prior.

The green bar on the graph represents 1,010,675 people who have received at least one or both shots of the vaccine, 7.0% of the entire population.

According to the Ministry of Health, 290,659 people are now fully vaccinated against the virus. That number represents about 2.0% of the Ontario population, indicated by the yellow segment in the graph.

Ontario residents eligible for vaccinations in phase one can now book through the online booking system and through the Provincial Vaccine Information line. The system had experienced some technical issues after going live on Monday morning. During the first day of operation, the system processed some 130,000 first and second appointment bookings, despite error messages, system glitches and long wait times.

Of course, the ramp-up of the vaccination system depends on available supply. The guaranteed delivery of vaccines is an important factor, without product, how can the system build capacity?

Furthermore, questions emerge over e.cacy and concerns of certain vaccines. For instance, several European countries are suspending the use of AstraZeneca following reports of blood clotting in some recipients.

Yet on Tuesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) expanded the recommended use for the AstraZeneca vaccine to everyone over the age of 18 years old, including those 65 and older.

Canadian senior health officials maintain no connection has been established linking the vaccine to blood clots.

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