Unanswered questions right now about COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Ottawa: Dr. Etches
In this May 25, 2020, file photo, a lab technician extracts a portion of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate during testing at the Chula Vaccine Research Center, run by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Sakchai Lalit
OTTAWA -- Ottawa's medical officer of health says there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Ottawa and Canada, but the "basics" are underway to prepare to administer the shot in the capital
Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that the first COVID-19 vaccines will be available in the province in early 2021, but supply will be "very limited." The federal government unveiled its plan to administer the first COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks and months.
Appearing on Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron, Dr. Vera Etches was asked if Ottawa is ready to begin administering the vaccine.
"I think we will be. There are a lot of unanswered questions right now. We need to know exactly which vaccines, how much is coming, but we do have the basics underway in terms of identifying the proper storage sites and who could do the immunizing," said Dr. Etches.
"It will depend on the populations; if it's in long-term care or in hospitals. I think the strategy is going to change over time."
Canada is expected to receive six million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of March, enough to vaccinate three million Canadians.
On Nov. 16, the City of Ottawa announced the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine task force to plan for the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force will develop a plan for distributing the vaccine in Ottawa.
"What we have, which is very important, is a health care community that's working together. So we do have the city helping with logistics, and the health care hospital partners and public health partners and others committed to doing this, all hands on deck," said Dr. Etches on Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, who is running Canada's logistical side of the vaccine effort, said Thursday they will be ready for the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas.
Fortin says the federal government will have a "dry run" in every province on Monday to rehearse for the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine.
"They'll ensure that – without the vaccine of course – they execute the process of handling and ensuring that people are comfortable with the very unique requirements of handling an ultra-low temperature vaccine," said Fortin.
The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at an ultra-low temperature. Fortin said the vaccine will be delivered from Pfizer to at least 14 provincial "points of delivery" and then on to the places where it will be administered.
With files from CTV News Ottawa Bureau Online Producer Rachel Aiello