Ontario officials confirm which regions will get vaccines first
OTTAWA -- Much to the disappointment of some Ottawa residents, the Capital is not first in line to receive the early doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sources tell CTV Ottawa the province’s hot zones, like Toronto and Peel, will be given priority on the upcoming delivery. It means the most successful zones in helping to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus remain uncertain about when they can expect to have access to inoculation against COVID-19.
Ottawa is presently in the "Orange-Restrict" level, two levels behind "lockdown", where Toronto and Peel currently sit, and one level behind "Red-Control", which includes York, Hamilton, Windsor, and Durham regions, among others.
SEE MORE: What public health measures are in place for my region?
Social media reaction was swift in criticizing the Ford Government upon news that Ottawa would have to wait:
Lol so all the hard work Eastern Ontario puts in, and we get told to wait. Meanwhile precious Toronto and the GTA get first dibs like always. Typical.— JL (@JLalonde88) December 9, 2020
Literally rewarding bad behaviour! @fordnation @JustinTrudeau pls order more so the rest of the province & the nation’s capital stand a fair chance!!— Carolyn (@CPercySearle) December 9, 2020
Did someone actually think Eastern Ont would have even a shot. @fordnation only looks at TO and this has been from the start.— Gord MacMillan (@AmazonGord) December 9, 2020
Rewarding bad behaviour @fordnation ? We are still months away from shedding masking and social distancing... convincing people to obey the restrictions is going to be tougher when they know it gives them more vaccines.— B (@brentiminator) December 9, 2020
“You’ve done awful. Here’s your trophy”— Mike (@1mikewa) December 9, 2020
On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the province could receive its first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week, if they're approved by Health Canada, and shared some details about how the shots would be rolled out; however, the premier did not say which parts of the province would get the first batch of early doses.
Long-term care and retirement home residents, and the staff who provide care to those groups, are to be the first people in the province to be vaccinated. Health-care workers, adults in Indigenous communities--including remote communities where risk of transmission is high--and adult recipients of chronic home health care are also included in those first to get the vaccine.
Future doses of the vaccine, beyond the 249,000 secured for all of Canada in December pending Health Canada approval, are expected to arrive in the new year.
In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province will announce more details about the vaccine rollout plan soon.
"The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force continues to meet regularly and provide advice to the government on the deployment of the initial delivery of Pfizer vaccines, which we expect will only include a small number of doses," the statement says. "Additional details on the roll-out of these initial vaccines will be released in short order."
The ministry expects Ontario will receive about 40 per cent of the first batch of vaccines, based on the province's population.
VACCINES TO BE ADMINISTERED AT DELIVERY SITES: TAM
Canada's chief public health officer. Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday that the first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are likely to be given only to people who can physically be at one of the 14 delivery sites identified by provincial governments for the first arrivals of the vaccine.
Tam called it a "rapidly evolving situation" but acknowledged that this will make it difficult to get long-term care residents vaccinated first.
The Pfizer vaccine has very strict requirements, including that it be kept at temperatures below -70°C.
There are two delivery sites in Ontario and Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 21 hospitals in the province with the freezer requirements to store the vaccine.
Eventually, the government aims to have more than 200 delivery sites across the country, to be added as more doses are made available and more people are trained in the proper handling of the vaccines.
With files from CTV News Toronto and The Canadian Press.