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City forms immunization task force preparing for massive distribution of COVID-19 vaccine

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, smiles alongside Toronto Mayor John Tory as the two speak at a press conference to announce additional provincial funding for Toronto Police CCTV programs, at the Toronto Police College in Toronto, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced on Monday the City has formed an immunization task force to better prepare for the eventual distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Tory’s remarks come on the same day Pfizer announced that its experimental shot, developed by the American drug maker and German biotechnology firm BioNTech SE, appears more than 90 per cent effective in stopping COVID-19 infections.

The task force will be led by Chief Matthew Pegg in his role as the City’s COVID-19 incident commander and will use the COVID-19 management system.

“We are doing this work so that we will be ready for what we know will be a massive effort that is required to vaccinate people against COVID-19 when the vaccine becomes available,” Tory said.

“The City, the provincial government, and the federal government will all be working together, as we have throughout this pandemic, to get Torontonians vaccinated.”

RELATED: Trudeau hopeful Canada will receive COVID-19 vaccines by early 2021

Pegg says the City has been working proactively to prepare for the distribution of the vaccine since the first wave started last winter.

“While it is not yet clear when a vaccine will be available, our immunization task force will make sure the City is ready to play its role in helping Torontonians get vaccinated,” Pegg said.

“This is a vital component in Toronto’s rebuild and recovery that will help us not only reclaim our City, but our lives from the effects of COVID-19.”

Health experts believe Pfizer and BioNTech’s next step will be to submit an emergency use authorization application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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