Retired Gen. Rick Hillier’s term as head of the province’s vaccine task force will come to and end in two weeks and he will not be seeking a renewal of the contract.
Hillier, a former Chief of Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces, was tapped to lead the task force in November, 2020 to help with providing recommendations on how to roll out a timely and efficient immunization program for the province.
Premier Doug Ford said Hillier’s contract expires March 31, but he did attempt to have him stay on.
“I tried to get him to renew but as he said, ‘Doug, I did the job I came for. We got everything set up.’ Now, as I agree with him, we have all the confidence in communities across the province to take the bull by the horns and just run with it,” said Ford.
A spokesperson from the Premier’s office said the vaccine plan and infrastructure are now in place and they are “immensely grateful for General Hillier’s leadership.”
“Because of his guidance, we now have the capacity to administer 150,000 doses every single day, well in excess of the supply we are currently receiving from the federal government,” said Ivana Yelich.
Ford added that Hillier’s recent statement that every Ontarian should have their first dose of the vaccine by June 20 remains the government’s target.
The province has faced criticism about the slow rollout of the COVID-19 immunization process but Ford has said the rollout depends on supplies provided by the federal government.
As part of Phase 2 of the rollout, the province will see vaccine shipments ramp up throughout March with the most significant amount coming from Moderna.
Shipments are expected to increase from just over 160,000 through the week of March 8 to over 320,000 doses expected to arrive in the week of March 22.
- March 1 and 8: 173,160 doses each week
- March 15 and 22: 174,330 doses each week
- March 29: 175,500 doses
- April 5 and 12: 298,350 doses each week
- Week of March 8: 160,500 doses
- Week of March 22: 323,200 doses
On Monday, the province launched its online vaccine booking portal, with errors and glitches reported by some users.
The province’s Chief Medical Officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said they are “not surprised” that there were some problems but the province’s team is “looking assertively at that” to ensure a smooth process going forward.
With files from Lucas Casaletto and The Canadian Press