Premier Doug Ford’s Vaccine Rollout Czar, Gen. Rick Hillier painted an optimistic picture of readiness of Ontario to engage in mass inoculation as vaccine becomes available. He also said federal officials had assured him that Ontario will receive 15 Million doses of vaccine by the end of June.
Hillier told reporters that as of yesterday the province had received 147,000 doses and had administered almost all of it. He said that late yesterday and 50,000 doses arrived and they are already being administered.
Hillier says the province will be opening a clinic in Toronto on the 18th of January to test out mass vaccination techniques. The information gleaned from that exercise will be shared across the province ahead of the arrival of larger shipments. He says he has formed a network with all of Ontario Hospitals and the 34 Public Health units and that the plan is to have all PHUs able to administer 10,000 vaccinations a day, with those in the larger centers able to do more.
Hillier said that 75 percent of those who live and work in Long Term Care facilities in Toronto, York Peel and Windsor have been given their first dose of vaccine and he expressed confidence that everyone in those municipalities will be vaccinated by January 18. He said he expected the entire LTC community to be vaccinated by February 15.
In a news release the province said, Phase One of the vaccine implementation program is expected to see approximately 1.5 million eligible people vaccinated. Vaccination of residents, staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes has begun in many parts of the province, with the goal of having the first dose administered in all homes no later than February 15, 2021.
Groups eligible to receive vaccines as part of Phase Two of the Ontario immunization program will include:
Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout;
Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate settings;
Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, teachers, food processing industry); and
Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.
Phase Two is expected to be completed by end of July 2021 and Phase Three for the general population could begin as early as August 2021, pending availability of vaccines. Vaccination of populations in Phase One will continue until all vaccinations are complete.