Phase One of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins next week

COVID-19 vaccine Distribution of the Pfizer BioNTechon vaccine starts Tuesday in Ontario

Phase One of Ontario’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan will begin next Tuesday.

Over 2,500 healthcare workers in Toronto and Ottawa with be vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNTechon vaccine Dec. 15.

“We are ready to receive these vaccines as soon as they become available thanks to the excellent work of our health care officials and General Hillier and the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “We have one of the most robust and comprehensive plans in the country and I am confident that all the necessary security measures and the advanced logistics systems are in place.”

Two pilot sites at the University Health Network in Toronto and The Ottawa Hospital will receive doses of the vaccine to be given to healthcare workers in hospitals and long-term care homes. The sites were chosen because they already had the equipment necessary to store the Pfizer vaccine at -70 degrees as well as the staff to handle the vaccine.

“Keeping everyone safe is our top priority and this vaccine is Health Canada approved and ready to be administered,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott. “By vaccinating and protecting people who provide essential care in hospitals and long-term care homes, we will decrease the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in these settings. “

Phase One will continue with the following milestones:

  • Based on per capita allocations, an expected 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses from the federal government will be delivered to up to 14 hospital sites in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones in December, to vaccinate healthcare workers in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other congregate settings caring for seniors.
  • Deliveries of an expected 35,000 to 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, once approved, will enable vaccinations to be expanded to long-term care homes in the Grey-Lockdown areas.
  • In early 2021, expansion of additional hospital sites providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones, with continued vaccination provided to health care workers and, with the appropriate safety protocols, to long-term care home and retirement home residents.
  • It is anticipated that by end of January over 20 hospitals across the province will be administering the Pfizer vaccine.
  • An expansion of the number of locations to administer the Moderna vaccine would include long-term care homes, retirement homes, public health units, other congregate care settings for seniors, and remote Indigenous communities.

When larger quantities of the vaccine become available to Ontario, the province will start Phase Two, which is expected to begin in Winter 2021. Phase Two will involve administering the vaccine to health care workers, residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions, additional First Nation and Indigenous communities, including Metis and Inuit individuals.

Phase Three will begin when vaccines are available for all that wish to be immunized. Vaccines will not be mandated, but vaccination will be encouraged.

“In launching the vaccine distribution plan in three phases, we are able to test and refine the logistics involved to better ensure success in this massive undertaking,” said retired General Rick Hillier, Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. “The members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force will closely monitor and assess the pilot project and provide recommendations for the next phases.”

More info:

Original news release
Press conference video