Pregnant people in Ontario now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine under ‘highest risk’ designation

TORONTO — Pregnant people in Ontario are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the provincial government announced Friday.

The decision comes days after the Ministry of Health said it was reviewing vaccine eligibility criteria for pregnant people following a surge in severe COVID-19 symptoms among expectant individuals.

“In response to emerging data on the increased risk of severe illness for pregnant women, all pregnant individuals will be eligible to register for vaccination appointments under the highest risk health conditions in the Phase 2 prioritization guidance starting today,” the ministry said in a statement issued today.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists had also called for pregnant people to be eligible for the shot, citing a wave of pregnant patients filling Ontario intensive care units and requiring ventilators.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that a pregnant person would qualify for immunization on the advice of a physician. However, some expectant mothers said they had been told by the province’s vaccination booking phone line that they were still not eligible—even with a doctor’s note.

Pregnant individuals will still need to book their shot through the provincial call centre at 1-888-999-6488, but a letter from a doctor is not required. The government said that the extended dose interval of 16 weeks “remains appropriate for this population.”

Residents in areas not using the provincial vaccine booking system will be directed to their local public health unit to book an appointment.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Natalie Johnson

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