Of the 296,000 doses of COVID vaccine That Ontario has administered, only about 68,000, less than a quarter, has been administered to residents of Long-Term Care and retirement homes. The rest has gone to workers in those senior facilities. The largest amount of vaccine has gone to health cate workers, not working in the LTC sector.
The Ministry of health told the Bay Observer they have about 115,000 doses on hand right now which they will use to finish the vaccination of the remaining Long Term care residents who have not had shots yet. They expect that will be done be the end of the first week in February . It means that healthy people who have had the first shot will have to wait up to 42 days to get the second shot, so that there is enough vaccine available to provide second shots to frail LTC residents.
Yesterday Ontario Vaccine Distribution boss Gen Rick Hllier explained why more LTC residents haven’t been vaccinated. He reminded reporters that at the beginning of the Pfizer rollout, people needing shots had to be transported to central facilities because of the vaccine’s refrigeration needs, and that meant some LTC residents were too frail to be transported; and as a result, the injections were given to medical staff rather than have is go to waste. Once a method for transporting Pfizer was developed, then it became possible to get the shots to the people who needed it most.
St Josephs Healthcare advisory
St Joseph’s Healthcarel issued a memo to its medical staff advising the that if they haven’t had a first shot they will have to wait, and if they have had a first dose they may have to wait the full 42 days.
The memo reads in part:
This means, for hospital staff, physicians and learners:
• No first dose given to anyone at this time until supplies of vaccine firm up.
• Expanding the interval for receiving the second dose of the vaccine up to 42 days.
• Anyone scheduled to receive either the first or second dose, will be contacted by the vaccination clinic to reschedule their appointment.
Based on modelling submitted by the Ontario Science Table, the aggressive repositioning of vaccine into those in Long-Term Care may save between 225-340 extra lives if first dose of vaccinations were administered by February 5th.
Health Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, suggest that the it’s safe to administer the second dose up to 42 days after the first dose.
We recognize this is disappointing news for those wanting to receive the vaccine as soon as possible, and will update with further information as soon as it becomes available.
An Ontario Health Ministry official told the Bay Observer, “we are protecting access to second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the over 160,000 Ontarians who have already received their first dose. As soon as we have confidence in steady supply and regular deliveries we’ll continue to ramp up our efforts to administer vaccines as quickly and safely as possible.”
In a CBC interview today Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told Matt Galloway that despite the interruption in Pfizer supplies she is still confident that millions of doses will be administered by the end of March. “There’s not a phone call that isn’t being made to get more vaccine,” she said.