Long-term care homes the priority for Ottawa’s limited COVID-19 vaccine supply
OTTAWA -- Facing a shortage of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses over the next few weeks, city officials say their priority is to administer the second dose of the vaccine to residents and staff in Ottawa's long-term care homes.
Pfizer has temporarily cut vaccine deliveries to Canada due to expansion plans at its European manufacturing facility. On Tuesday, the federal government said Canada would not get any new vaccines from Pfizer next week.
"Our priority is to get the long-term care residents protected as quickly as possible," said Anthony Di Monte, Ottawa's General Manager of Emergency and Protective Services.
The Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Dashboard shows the Ottawa Hospital received 2,925 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
"The vaccine supply for this week will be used to administer second doses to ensure that those individuals who have received their first round of vaccinations become immunized as directed by the province," said Di Monte on Wednesday afternoon while discussing the city's plan to continue vaccinating residents.
Di Monte added Ontario has directed that residents in long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes, along with essential caregivers and staff will receive their second dose in the 21-to-27 day window following the first dose.
"All other recipients of the Pfizer vaccine will receive their dose within the 21 to 42 days," said Di Monte.
Di Monte says it is "more than likely" that health care workers outside of long-term care homes will wait closer to 42 days for the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
"We're focusing right now with what we have let's get a second dose to our most vulnerable, our long-term care," said Di Monte.
Ottawa has received a total 25,350 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 14, and 21,951 doses have been administered.
"This is going to be a longer process and it will take some time to get all residents vaccinated," said Di Monte while discussing the disruption in COVID-19 vaccine supply from Pfizer. "This is why it's important that we continue to follow provincial orders and the direction given by our medical officer of health in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community."
The city announced last week that residents and staff at all 28 long-term care homes have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The city says 92 per cent of all long-term care residents received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"The focus is on the planning to make sure that we provide those second doses to the long-term care home residents and we're working through that plan and that modelling at this point," said Joanne Read, Executive Vice-President, Chief Planning and Development Officer at the Ottawa Hospital. "The goal is to secure additional doses going forward so that we can meet the demand as per the provincial guidelines."
Di Monte says that "given the availability of vaccine supply," one high-risk retirement home and one congregate care home with older adults have also received the COVID-19 vaccine. Once the city receives information about available COVID-19 vaccines, Di Monte says they will shift focus to vaccinating residents in high-risk retirement homes and other "priority populations."
The City of Ottawa will hold a technical briefing on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Monday, Jan. 25.