Ontario Prepares for Initial COVID-19 Vaccine

Long term care residents, workers to be targeted in first phase of vaccine rollout

By: Laura Steiner
The province of Ontario is ready to distribute its first batch of COVID19 vaccines as soon it’s received.  Details of a plan were unveiled today in the Premier’s daily briefing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at a morning press conference that Canada would be receiving approximately 249,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine before the end of the month. Each province now has to identify key groups that will get the vaccine first.
“We must deploy these first shipments of a safe and effective vaccine where they will make the most impact and save lives,” Ford said.  Ontario will get 96,534 doses of the vaccine. At two per person, the first Ontario will be able to serve 48,267 people.  The province identified the following three groups as the top priority in the first few months:

  • Residents, staff, essential caregivers, and other employees of congregate living settings (e.g., long-term care homes and retirement homes) that provide care for seniors as they are at higher risk of infection and serious illness from COVID-19;
  • Health care workers, including hospital employees, other staff who work or study in hospitals, and other health care personnel;
  • Adults in Indigenous communities, including remote communities where risk of transmission is high; and
  • Adult recipients of chronic home health care.

“We are asking people to look out for their elderly loved ones and protect themselves by continuing to follow the public health measures,” Ford added. In the general population the vaccine will be given to non-pregnant adults over the age of 18 as per early clinical trials.  It will be given on a voluntary basis.   The vaccine is still awaiting approval by Health Canada