General Rick Hillier told reporters it was his idea to cut back on COVID vaccinations for two days over the holidays. He said he made the decision after hearing from Long Term Care homes who said they had reduced staff levels for Christmas and would not be able to allow staff to attend the COVID vaccinations sites. The vaccinations have to be given at medical centres who have the kind of super-refrigeration necessary to store the vaccine.
“We’ve heard from the public and from here on there will be no more pauses…it is full speed ahead,” Hillier said as he admitted the decision to shut down vaccinations was a mistake. Hillier predicted by the end of March more than a million doses of vaccine will be administered. He said the second phase will see 15 Million more doses arrive—enough for 7.5 Million people. He suggested that by the second quarter the province should have some mobile capacity that will allow the program to be extended to more people.
Hillier says the Moderna Vaccine will start arriving in Ontario tomorrow. The Moderna vaccine does not require the same level of super-refrigeration which means the vaccine can be distributed to more community locations.
In response to questions about finding sufficient personnel to administer the vaccine, Hillier said there will likely be a call for volunteers, either existing medical staff working extra shifts or possibly a recall of recently-retired health care workers, and that by spring he hopes the pharmacies will be able to administer vaccine.