Ontario’s health minister says the province won’t administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to seniors.
Christine Elliott says the province plans to follow the advice of a national panel recommending against using that vaccine on people aged 65 and older.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot not be used for seniors due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations.
Elliott says the vaccine could more easily be used in sites like correctional facilities because it does not need to be stored at the same cold temperatures as other vaccines already in use.
She also says the province is waiting for recommendations from the immunization committee on whether Ontario can extend the interval between administering first and second vaccine doses to four months.
Elliott says Ontario will share its updated vaccine rollout plan once that advice is received, factoring in expected supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca doses as well.
Meanwhile, public health authorities have ordered the closure of a Toronto school after several cases of a COVID-19 variant were found.
Toronto’s health unit says a COVID-19 outbreak in Donwood Park Public School has sickened six people in the school.
Those include four cases that have screened positive for a variant.
The unit says the four variant cases are likely from community exposure.
It says testing is recommended for the whole school as well as families of those at the school.
Health officials say the school’s temporary closure is a “precautionary measure” to allow an investigation to be conducted while preventing further virus spread.
Ontario reported 966 new cases of COVID-19 today.
The province said 11 more people have died from the virus.
Elliott said 253 cases were in Toronto, 223 in Peel Region and 99 in York Region.
The province administered 22,326 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine since the last report, for a total of 727,021 doses administered across the province so far.
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