TORONTO -- Ontario's solicitor general says pharmacies in virus hot spots will be next to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to people aged 60 and older.

Sylvia Jones says Peel Region will be "absolutely" prioritized next for the pharmacy vaccine program based on high rates of COVID-19 there.

A pilot offering Oxford-AstraZeneca shots started this month in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor pharmacies and it's expected to expand to 700 sites over the next few weeks.

Jones says the expansion depends on supply and the exact sites are being determined with the Ontario Pharmacists Association, looking at health units with higher COVID-19 positivity rates.

Premier Doug Ford says the pharmacy vaccine project will be expanding to more sites in the hot spots of Toronto, York and Peel Region.

The government has been criticized for passing over hot spot neighbourhoods and regions in the initial pharmacy pilot.

Jones says hot spots weren't forgotten but the province was limited by vaccine supply and the April 2 expiry date for the first doses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2021.