Ontario sees 613 new COVID-19 cases as vaccine appointments open to kids aged 5 to 11



Ontario reported 613 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as vaccination appointments opened for children aged five to 11 in the province.  The provincial booking portal was initially scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Tuesday, but people reported on social media that they were able to access it even earlier. More than 68,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments were booked through the portal by 10 a.m., a spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford said on social media. That figure did not include spots booked through alternative options, such as public health units that use an internal system, hospital-based clinics, paediatricians or pharmacies. Those with two kids or more, however, are not able to book multiple appointments at the same time, meaning that eligible siblings can end up with spots on different days and at different clinics.  The province has said it expects to start administering the first shots on Thursday. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 400,000 doses of the paediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were expected Monday, with more than 600,000 more to come in a later shipment. Children turning five in the remainder of 2021 are also eligible to start booking shots today. Meanwhile, today’s case count is a roughly 27 per cent jump from Tuesday last week, when Ontario logged 481 infections. The seven-day average of daily cases climbed to 675, it’s highest point since Sept. 22.  The Ministry of Health also reported the deaths of six more people with COVID-19, raising the official toll to 9,974. Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the ministry’s daily provincial update: Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 134, down from 139 last Tuesday. Tests in the previous 24 hours: 19,859, with a 3.1 per cent positivity rate. It’s the second straight day the positivity rate has climbed above three per cent. Active cases: 5,487. Vaccinations: 11,096 doses were administered by public health units on Monday. About 86 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and older have had two shots.  2 charged in alleged data breach of vaccine system Ontario Provincial Police say they’ve arrested two people, including a government employee, after an alleged security breach of the province’s COVID-19 immunization system. Police say they began investigating last week after the Ontario government received reports of spam text messages from people who had scheduled appointments or accessed vaccine certificates through the portal. OPP say they searched homes in Ottawa and Quebec. They say they seized a number of devices, including computers and laptops. Police charged a 22-year-old man from Gloucester, Ont., and a 22-year-old man from Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., with one count each of unauthorized use of a computer. Police allege the Gloucester man is an employee with the vaccine contact centre in the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.



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