Ontario should prioritize vaccine rollout by neighbourhood as well as age: experts

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TORONTO — Ontario’s science advisors say prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations based on neighbourhood as well as age could prevent thousands of cases and reduce the number of deaths due to the pandemic.

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table makes the findings in a new report released today.

The group says the pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on older adults and residents of disadvantaged and racialized urban neighbourhoods.

It says targeting those residents for vaccination first could minimize deaths, illness and hospitalizations across Ontario.

The group also says implementing the strategy would not interfere with the ongoing vaccine rollout, but could instead help guide the upcoming mass distribution of shots to the general population.

Ontario has thus far focused its vaccine rollout on the highest-priority groups, including long-term care residents, and plans to next target populations based on age.