We got an update today from the head of Ontario’s vaccination rollout team.
Retired Gen. Rick Hillier elaborated on the next sector of the population in line for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We don’t think we can get at it right in the first week or 10 days of March but by the middle of March, we want to be able to start vaccinating those 80 years of age and older and we will be reaching out to them in the next week to two weeks to tell them when their opportunity is going to be,” said Hillier.
“Where they can go to book their appointments, either online or through a phone line, and where they can get their information.”
Hillier said his team has reached out to all the public health units to review their vaccination plans.
Each public health unit has been told to deliver at least 10,000 doses a day with much higher numbers in larger cities.
One key update from the province on Friday concerned their ability to vaccinate the population on a daily basis. Officials said that Ontario has the capacity to inoculate nearly 40,000 residents per day and is building to triple or quadruple that pending federal government supply.
They’re also awaiting the approval of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, though Health Canada recently announced it wasn’t ready to greenlight the treatment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) gave its seal of approval to AstraZeneca Monday, and if Health Canada follows suit, almost 500,000 doses could be shipped to Canada in March through the global vaccine-sharing program known as COVAX.
On the Pfizer front, new data indicates the COVID-19 vaccine developed by them and their partner BioNTech could be stored for two weeks without the ultra-cold storage currently required, which could make it easier to use and distribute.
The company says it has submitted new data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, demonstrating the stability of the vaccine when stored at minus-25 degrees to minus-15 degrees celsius.
The companies say the vaccine can be stored in a regular freezer for about two weeks and in a fridge for five days.
Meantime, the City of Toronto continues to prepare for the mass arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.
The immunization task force has updated the status of its nine city-run clinics, which will be ready to open on or before April 1.
The clinics at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Malvern Community Centre, and Toronto Congress Centre are already fully set up and Friday is the final day of set up for The Hangar.
Scarborough Town Centre will be set up next week, with the rest to follow.
The nine city-operated vaccine clinics will be located at:
- Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.
- Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Rd.
- Malvern Community Recreation Centre, 30 Sewells Rd.
- The Hangar, 75 Carl Hall Rd.
- Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Dr.
- Cloverdale Mall, 250 The East Mall
- Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Ave.
- North Toronto Memorial Community Centre, 200 Eglinton Ave. W.
- Carmine Stefano Community Centre, 3100 Weston Rd.
Coun. Joe Cressy says when the vaccine supply is available, they will all be ready to open.
Once fully operational, these clinics will be open seven days a week, for nine hours a day. It is estimated that more than 120,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses will be administered each week.
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) February 19, 2021