Ontario to begin administering COVID-19 vaccine at 2 hospitals next week

Two hospitals in Ontario will begin administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week, the provincial government announced Thursday.

Ontario to begin administering COVID-19 vaccine at 2 hospitals next week

TORONTO -- Two hospitals in Ontario will begin administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week, the provincial government announced Thursday.

In a statement issued by Premier Doug Ford, the University Health Network in Toronto and the Ottawa Hospital were identified as the two sites where the recently approved vaccine will be delivered beginning on Friday.

Ford said a "very small number of doses" will be arriving over the coming days and will be administered starting Dec. 15 "to health care workers who are providing care in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings."

Ret. Gen. Rick Hillier, who leads the province’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, said the province would receive 6,000 doses on Monday, with Toronto and Ottawa receiving 3,000 each.

“The vaccinations are going to be rolled out in a coordinated fashion, so the teams now are working with the long-term care homes whose health care workers will be getting vaccinated first,” Hillier said at a news conference on Thursday.

The announcement comes hours after the province's Solicitor General declined to reveal the exact location of the healthcare sites, citing concerns about security and the underground market.

Sylvia Jones, who sits on the province's vaccine distribution task force, said the government had to evaluate the risk of the two sites before revealing any identifying information because of the demand for the vaccines.

"There is some security concerns because these vaccines are actually quite valuable right now from a black market standpoint," Jones told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.

"We are continuing to do the security threats on the individual sites and as soon as we have completed that and made sure that all the cybersecurity, physical security is mapped out, then we will release the sites."

Based on Ontario's population, the province should expect nearly 100,000 of the 249,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine procured by the federal government, and 12,000 of the 30,000 that would be available in Canada next week.

Hillier said that those selected to receive the vaccine will be given an appointment to visit the vaccination sites because the Pfizer’s vaccine is very delicate while in storage and cannot be transported easily.

“We cannot move the Pfizer vaccine from where we receive it at those two sites. So, we have to have people who can come to the special vaccination site,” Hillier said. 

Hillier said that Ontario may get 90,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December, which, he said, will be rolled out to 13 hospitals across the province.

Meanwhile, Hillier said the province is expected to get “anywhere from 35,000 to 85,000 doses” of the Moderna vaccine by the end of this month, pending its approval by Health Canada.

Source: ctvnews.ca