The Ontario government on Friday provided details on how they are rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines once they arrive.
Premier Doug Ford said during a press conference that the province is ready to roll out its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan once the 6,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arrive in Ontario on Dec. 14. Of those, Toronto and Ottawa will receive 3,000 doses each.
Ford was joined by retired Gen. Rick Hillier, chair of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, who detailed how the plan will be implemented in three phases.
Phase one will consist of two pilot sites: The University of Health Network in Toronto and The Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, which will receive doses of the Pfizer vaccines. It will officially begin on Dec. 15 which will see the vaccination of over 2,500 health care workers who are providing care in hospitals and long-term care homes.
“We will vaccinate some 1,500 people in each site. We will save the second dose for each person for the 21 day period, just to make sure that if the supply does not continue on interrupted, or for any reason there is some kind of stoppage or delay, that vaccination up front is not wasted. And those people will get the second vaccination,” Hillier said.
According to the government, the pilot project will provide the province the opportunities to test the logistics of delivery, reconstitution of the vaccine, clinic management, and post-vaccine surveillance so as to prepare to receive the remaining 90,000 vaccines by the end of December.
The pilot will also provide the opportunity to learn from the experiences of those being vaccinated, so that lessons can be shared to other sites in the coming weeks and months.
One of the key milestones in phase one is the delivery of 90,000 vaccines to up to 14 hospitals in the grey-lockdown and red-control zones. Priority will still be given to health care workers in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other congregate settings caring for seniors.
Phase two is expected to start later early next year. Vaccinations will be given to health care workers as well as to the residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes, to home care patients with chronic conditions, and to additional First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit individuals.
Once phase two is completed, phase three will commence with vaccines available to Onatarians who choose to receive them.
Earlier today, the Ford government has also announced moving Windor-Essex and York Region into grey “lockdown” effective Dec. 14 that will last for 28 days. They will join the Toronto and Peel regions.
Besides that, the provincial government imposed new restrictions to five other regions.
Middlesex-London, Simcoe Muskoka, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph will move into the red “control” zone.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit will move to orange “restrict,” while Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark will move to yellow “protect.”
The province reported 1,848 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and 45 new deaths. COVID-19 is the disease the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus causes.
It said 469 new cases were in Toronto, 386 in Peel Region, 205 in York Region, and 106 in Windsor-Essex.
With files from The Canadian Press