Vaccinations and Provincial Regulations

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost  
Salvatore Spadafora, Special Advisor to the President and Provost on COVID-19 
Date:  February 12, 2021
Re: Vaccinations and Provincial Regulations  

Dear Colleagues, 

We are writing to give you a brief update on two matters that are top of mind for many in our community: (1) vaccinations and (2) Monday’s announcement from the Province regarding the phased return of health regions to the colour-coded provincial framework. 

  1. Vaccinations: 

Guided by Ontario’s Ethical Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, the Ministry of Health developed Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Implementation Plan, a phased approach to vaccine distribution that outlines who will receive the vaccine in each phase.  

The three-phase distribution plan focuses first on vulnerable populations who are at greatest risk of COVID-19 and severe illness, and those who care for them. Members of the U of T community—faculty, librarians, students, and staff—will be prioritized in the same way as other members of the public in accordance with the province’s implementation plan.  

For any members of our community who belong to a high-risk population and believe they may be eligible for the vaccine now, we recommend they review the provincial guidance and discuss their options with their health care providers. For members of our community not prioritized by the Provincial plan, the government estimates that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by the fall. 

There have also been questions about how the University is helping with the vaccine rollout. U of T is working with our government and hospital partners to support the provincial plan, and we are proud to have experts advising the province and the federal advisory table in this effort. Many of U of T’s affiliated hospitals are administering the vaccine, and we are working with them, local health authorities, and the province to support the vaccine campaign. To that end, we have offered the use of facilities on all three campuses, as needed. 

  1. Provincial Announcement 

We have been operating for the past month under the Provincial state of emergency and stay-at-home order. On Monday, the Province announced that it would let the state of emergency expire on February 9, but that Toronto and Peel regions will continue to operate under the stay-at-home order, likely until Monday, February 22. When the stay-at-home order expires, Toronto and Peel will return to the colour-coded Provincial framework, which has been revised. Revisions to the framework largely aim to ease restrictions on retail businesses. 

We will continue to monitor the changing provincial measures, with particular attention to the status Toronto and Peel will have in the provincial framework when the stay-at-home order ends, and how it will affect our operations. 

Thank you all for your resilience and hard work throughout this year of unprecedented challenges. The dedication our faculty members, librarians, and staff have shown to our students and to the University is an inspiration. We are not quite through this pandemic yet, but there are good reasons to be hopeful as we prepare for an eventual safe return to life on campus.