The Ontario government has bumped up its target date to get COVID-19 vaccines into all of the province's long-term care homes.
Details were provided Monday by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force.
To date, the long-term care homes in 10 of the province's health regions have received their vaccinations and the province is aiming to have all 14 health regions receive their vaccines by Feb. 5.
"Due to the delay in the next shipment of Pfizer vaccine doses, we are ensuring all available supplies are redirected to those who need them most: our residents in long-term care and retirement homes," said Ford.
"I know this will mean that some people may have to reschedule their vaccine appointments, but it is critical that our most vulnerable seniors receive the protection they need as soon as possible."
On Jan. 19, the federal government notified the province of further reductions in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments.
Ontario will not receive vaccine deliveries for the week of Jan. 25 and will receive just over 26,000 doses for the first weeks of February.
As of Monday, Jan. 25, Ontario has not been provided its allocation for the weeks of Feb. 8 and Feb.15, creating further uncertainty for the province's vaccine rollout.
In response to the significant reduction in distribution by the federal government and the uncertainty of future shipments, the province and vaccination sites have worked together to develop a plan to accelerate vaccination of the province's most vulnerable.
Second doses will continue to be administered based on availability of supply provided by the federal government. Actions being taken include:
- Accelerate vaccination of the most vulnerable populations across Ontario with the goal of visiting each home in the province to administer first doses by February 5, 2021, pending week of February 1, 2021 delivery dates.
- Doses of the Moderna vaccine will be reallocated to 14 public health units to ensure vaccines are administered at each long-term care home in the province.
Premier Ford announced that it's his hope that by summer all Ontario residents who wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to do so.
"We have the best team in the entire country working on the rollout and they're working around the clock," said Ford.
"Until a vaccine is widely available, please stay home, continue following the public health guidelines and together we will get through this."
The government is ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and expand the number of vaccination sites as soon as doses are received.
Ontario has capacity to vaccinate nearly 40,000 people per day and is building capacity to triple or quadruple that capacity pending federal government supply.