December 11 Weekly Update

Published on December 11, 2020
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Dear Neighbour, 

This week, we received the good news we have all been waiting for: the first COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in Canada.

The Ontario government has developed a three-phase implementation plan to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians as soon as they are received. Phase One will begin on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 with a pilot project at the University Health Network in Toronto and the Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, which will include the vaccination of over 2,500 health care workers with the Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

This pilot is in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Pfizer-BioNTech, and will help inform the province's preparedness plan to receive larger vaccine quantities as it moves forward in Phase One, providing the opportunity to test the logistics of delivery, reconstitution of the vaccine, clinic management, and post-vaccine surveillance.

Since this vaccine cannot be transferred beyond the initial delivery location at this time, vaccinations will be administered to health care workers in high-risk areas such as long-term care and critical care units in the Toronto and Ottawa regions.

Based on per capita allocations, an expected 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses received from the federal government will be delivered to up to 14 hospital sites in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones in December, to vaccinate health care workers in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors.

Deliveries of an expected 35,000 to 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, once approved, will enable vaccinations to be expanded to long-term care homes in the Grey-Lockdown areas. An expansion of the number of locations to administer the Moderna vaccine would include long-term care homes, retirement homes, public heath units, other congregate care settings for seniors, and remote Indigenous communities.

In early 2021, expansion of additional hospital sites providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones, with continued vaccination provided to health care workers and, with the appropriate safety protocols, to long-term care home and retirement home residents. It is anticipated that by end of January over 20 hospitals across the province will be administering the Pfizer vaccine.

When an increased stockpile of vaccines becomes available to Ontario, the province will shift to Phase Two of its vaccination implementation plan, which is expected to begin later in the winter of 2021. During Phase Two, vaccinations will be administered to health care workers, as well as to residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes, to home care patients with chronic conditions and to additional First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit individuals.

Ontario will enter Phase Three when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wishes to be immunized. While vaccines will not be mandated, during Phase Three, people will be strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

As the province prepares to rollout its phased vaccination program and head into the holiday season, it remains critically important that all Ontarians continue following public health advice to protect our communities and most vulnerable populations, and to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Yesterday marked the first night of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Although celebrations this year will be held differently due to COVID-19, it remains as important as ever for us to take this opportunity to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. I want to take this time and wish the Jewish community of Eglinton-Lawrence a very happy Chanukah. May the festivities illuminate each and everyone of your homes and hearts. Chag Chanukah Sameach! 
As you may be aware, the Ontario Government has extended the validity of many ServiceOntario products, including the Ontario Photo Card, Health Card, and Driver's Licences, untl furthern notice. This measure applies to all products expiring on or after March 1, 2020 and was put in place to reduce unnecessary visits to ServiceOntario locations. 

While the extension remains in place, the Ontario Government has now expanded ServiceOntario's online services to make it easier and safer to renew driver's licences from home.

The Ontario Government is temporarily allowing senior drivers aged 80 and above to renew their driver's licences online, without completing a Group Education Session. In addition, drivers who would normally be required to visit a ServiceOntario centre to update their driver's licence photo may now renew online using their current driver's licence photo. 

It is strongly encouraged that everyone renew their driver's licence and licence plate stickers online, especially those who need to travel outside Ontario this winter for essential purposes.

For those who choose to renew their licence in person, appointments can be booked online in advance for services at 43 ServiceOntario centres. Please visit Ontario.ca/Appointment for more information or to book an appointment.

Today, the Ontario Government moved a number of regions into new levels Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, including York Region which will enter the Grey-Lockdown stage as of Monday, December 14th, 2020 at 12:01am. These steps are being taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open in the regions where in-class learning is permitted, safeguard health system capacity, and protect the province's most vulnerable populations. To see what restrictions apply to each stage click here.
I hope all of you received my recent Holiday Greetings Card. In the last week, my office and I have received numerous calls asking about our when people can expect to receive our 2021 Calendar. Due to additional COVID-19 precautions in place with our vendors, there are some delays in the printing and mailing process, but everyone should expect to receive it in the next couple of weeks. 

My constituency office continues to be open by appointment only. If you are in need of any assistance,  you can contact my office at (416) 781-2395 or email robin.martin@pc.ola.org.
 
Stay safe, stay healthy, 
Robin Martin, MPP
Eglinton-Lawrence
 
 
Think you have COVID-19 Symptoms or have been in close contact with some who does? Click here for a self-assessment.
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For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information from the Government of Ontario visit ontario.ca/coronavirus
 
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