Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan will slow down due to the announcement by Pfizer-BioNTech last week that it is temporarily delaying international shipments of the vaccines due to upgrading of its production facilities in Europe, Premier Doug Ford said on Jan. 19.
“The news from the federal government today that Canada won’t get any new Pfizer vaccines next week, and far fewer than expected in the coming weeks, it’s troubling. It’s a massive concern,” Ford said at a press conference.
“My message to the federal government is that nothing else matters right now. Every day we’re giving up less vaccines than we have the capacity to administer is a day we lose.”
The provincial government says shipments are expected to get back to normal levels in late February and early March.
The province still expects to meet its goal of providing the first dose of the vaccine to all long-term care residents, workers, and essential caregivers by Feb. 15.
The government said in a press release on Jan. 19 that the first round of vaccinations has been completed ahead of schedule in all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex, the four regions with the highest COVID-19 transmission rates.
The first round of vaccinations has also been administered at all long-term care homes in the Ottawa Public Health Region, Durham Region, and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
“This is the first of many victories to come against this deadly and ruthless enemy we face,” Ford said. “We are making steady progress, but we will not rest until the residents and staff of every long-term care home and all Ontarians have had the opportunity to get a vaccine.”
As of Jan. 19, the province reported 1,913 new cases, 2,873 recovered cases, 55 more hospitalizations, 46 new associated deaths, and six additional patients in ICU.