Ontario has started to receive and administer the Covid-19 vaccine. This is a very exciting development, however, we must temper our enthusiasm with the reality that it will be several months or more before we will really start to see any impact on our daily lives.
We wanted to let you know some facts and plans that Ontario has for the rollout of the vaccine but please remember that plans can change frequently.
About COVID-19 vaccines
Safe and reliable vaccines can help protect you and your family from COVID-19. They will be an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and allow individuals, families and workers to safely resume normal life.
On December 9, 2020, Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine in Canada. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized after an independent and thorough scientific review for safety, efficacy and quality. Learn more about the vaccine that Health Canada has approved for use in Canada.
There will be a limited supply of vaccines at first, so people who are more vulnerable or at higher risk of infection and serious illness will be prioritized in the roll-out of the early phases of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine program.
When will vaccines be available?
To ensure the province is prepared to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive over the next several months, Ontario will roll out the vaccines in three phases, focusing first on vulnerable populations that are at greatest risk of COVID-19. The province’s vaccine supply will arrive in stages.
On December 15, 2020, Ontario started to roll out its three-phased implementation plan.
As part of phase one, the government is participating in a COVID-19 vaccine readiness pilot with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Pfizer-BioNTech. The province is working with public health units to help prioritize and identify long-term care home staff, and other high-risk staff to participate in this phase of the roll out. On December 15, the readiness clinics began immunizing select health care workers. These clinics are not open to the public and will only be immunizing workers from select long-term care homes and hospitals.
Key notes about Phase 1:
Based on per capita allocations, the Ontario government expects to receive 90,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the federal government between December 2020 and January 2021. These doses will be delivered to hospital sites and will be administered to health care workers of hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors.
The government anticipates that by the end of January, more than 20 hospitals across Ontario will be administering the Pfizer vaccine.
Once approved, the government expects to receive 35,000-85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. These doses will allow the province to expand vaccinations to long-term care homes. The government plans to expand the number of locations that will administer the Moderna vaccine, including long-term care homes, retirement homes, public health units, other congregate care settings for seniors and vulnerable Indigenous communities (pending consultation).
When more vaccines become available to Ontario, the province will shift to phase two of its vaccination implementation plan. This is expected to begin later in the winter of 2021.
During phase two, vaccinations will be expanded to:
· other health care workers
· residents in long-term care homes, retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions and additional Indigenous communities, pending consultation
Ontario will enter phase three when vaccines are available for everyone who wishes to be immunized. While vaccines will not be mandatory during phase three, people are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
As we enter this next stage of the pandemic, please remember to continue to follow all of the Public Health’s guidelines in your region to help curb the spread of the virus.