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Ontario wasted just over 15-hundred COVID-19 vaccines. The province says it's common

Last Updated Mar 4, 2021 at 9:01 pm EDT

Health minister Christine Elliott downplayed the amount of wasted vaccines, saying it's minimal in the grand scheme of the rollout. Mufid Majnun

Ontario’s health minister rattled some cages today after she revealed that a number of vaccines have been wasted in the province.

She touched on the matter during a back-and-forth with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath at Queen’s Park.

“It’s known in any vaccination campaign, including in our flu vaccination campaign, that there is going to be some degree of waste,” said Elliott.

“As much as we’re working hard to prevent that there is no waste whatsoever, what we’re talking about is 0.1 percent waste out of 784,000 shots that have been given.”

Elliott’s office has since confirmed to 680 NEWS that just over 1,500 vaccine doses have been wasted as part of the province’s rollout.

This includes 1,100 from Pfizer and 400 wasted Moderna vaccines; perhaps insignificant in the grand scheme but in the height of the second wave, those could have protected several nursing homes days earlier.

The health minister stresses this is normal and common, saying that means “99.9 percent” of people are getting the vaccines they need.

Canada received 500,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca this week and Ontario has said those doses will be given to people between the ages of 60 and 64.

Ontario’s Health Minister also confirmed the province is working towards providing residents that have been treated against COVID-19 with a proof-of-vaccination document in the form of a passport.

Elliott made the comments on Thursday, telling reporters that once vaccinated, residents will either receive a “receipt” or will be presented with a digital document at a later time.

“People will receive proof-of-vaccination, a printed statement upon receipt of their second dose of the COVID vaccination,” said the health minister.

“Then, if they wish, they can also have it sent to them digitally so that they can have it on their phone as well.”

In early December, Elliott said the Ford government plans to provide people that get vaccinated some form of documentation that would allow them to travel or enter certain businesses, such as movie theatres.

RELATED: Most Canadians could get 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine by end of June

But in an interview with Reuters at the time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is not considering any type of national vaccine passport.

“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges,” Trudeau said.

The health minister says it’s the government’s goal to ensure everyone is properly educated when it comes to getting vaccinated, and though the process is not mandatory, Elliott has said that some people could face restrictions if they opt not to get the vaccine.

This comes on the heels of Health Canada saying a decision on Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is coming in the next few days. It would give the country its fourth treatment against the virus.

It was also announced that about 380 pharmacies in the Toronto, Kingston, and Windsor-Essex health units will begin delivering COVID-19 vaccinations next week in a pilot project.

With files from 680 NEWS business editor Richard Southern and 680 NEWS reporter Alex Bloomfield

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