Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus will be COVID-19 vaccination spot for health care staff: Mayor Watson
OTTAWA -- With the clock ticking down towards vaccination day in Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson says Ottawa Public Health will be in touch this weekend with the health care workers first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Three-thousand doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Ottawa on Monday, and the first vaccinations will be administered Tuesday to health care workers providing care in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings.
Watson told reporters on Friday that the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus, and health care workers will be asked to go to the facility to receive the dose.
"There will be one site, one location and the individuals who are going to be tested will be in touch with public health, who will coordinate the vaccines on a priority basis – obviously, those areas that have had hot spots," said Watson.
"They'll be expected to go to the site at the Civic Hospital, because the vaccine can not be moved from post to post. This will be easiest way to get those long-term care workers, PSWs to the site, vaccinated and be sent on their way. They'll return for the second vaccine weeks later."
Watson told Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron that Ottawa Public Health has the "knowledge" to decide which long-term care workers should be vaccinated first.
Workers will be contacted by public health over the weekend to set up an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine will fly into Ottawa on Monday.
Ret. Gen. Rick Hillier, who is leading Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, told reporters health officials decided to vaccinate employees in long-term care homes hit hard by COVID-19 first.
"It's actually data driven in the extreme; we've walked through this many times in the last days. What we are doing is looking at the long-term care homes that have had COVID-19 so tragically visit upon them, where they've had challenges and tragedies before ….and long-term care homes where the province have had to intervene," said Hillier on Friday.
"Those became the first in the order of priority, since we cannot move the vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, to those homes and set up a special vaccination site and vaccinate the residents, and all the workers and health care workers and essential visitors."
Hillier said Ontario will move all the workers and essential visitors to the Ottawa Hospital to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
"As one of the doctors said to me, by doing that alone we will improve the protection of the residents in that long-term care home by 90-plus per cent, because the COVID-19 enters that home through those people," said Hillier.
The Ontario government announced Friday that an expected 90,000 Pfizer COVID-19 doses will be delivered to up to 14 hospital sites in the grey-lockdown and red-control zones this month. The province says that when the Moderna vaccine is approved by Health Canada, an expected 35,000 to 85,000 doses of the vaccine will enable vaccinations in long-term care homes in the grey-lockdown zones.
Ottawa Public Health is working with the City of Ottawa and its hospital partners on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution rollout.
"The reality is there are restrictions that we have to follow with respect to moving them because of the storage capacity," said Watson.
"We have the fridges available at the Civic Campus and we have a relatively modest number of doses that will be used in the Ottawa Hospital, so for the time being we feel it's better to have the employees who are going to get vaccinated to come to the site."
Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered at the Ottawa Hospital to health care workers who are providing care in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings.
"Ottawa has been selected in part to test and validate provincial distribution networks, as well as in recognition of the challenges the region has faced with certain long-term care home outbreaks," said Ford in a statement.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches calls Ottawa receiving the first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine a "significant milestone" in the ongoing COVID-19 response.
"When health care workers who work in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings begin receiving the vaccine Tuesday at the Ottawa Hospital, we know that it will have an impact; one single vaccination could prevent an outbreak and save lives," said Dr. Etches in a statement to CTV News on Thursday.
"Ensuring those who want to be vaccinated can be without delay is one of OPH’s priorities and focus of our collaboration and planning with hospital, long-term care, City and Indigenous health service providers and others. The overall COVID-19 vaccine campaign for the general population will be a complex undertaking that will last well into 2021."