After the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in December 2020, the Canadian government began to establish large-scale vaccination programs. The development of these vaccinations and the subsequent immunization programs have provided Canadians with much-needed hope, implying that the end of lockdown regulations might be near.
Both vaccines have been endorsed by Health Canada and are predicted to be around 95 per cent effective after receiving both doses.
At the beginning of the new year, Canada faced a vaccine shortage which began on January 26 and continued into February. According to CTV News, the shortage was caused by the high demand for shipments on an international scale. However, the missed shipments are expected to be restocked in March, and citizens are looking forward to learning what the next step will be for the provincial and federal governments.
According to the Government of Ontario website, around 16,000 vaccinations are delivered daily, and more than 200,000 individuals have been administered with both dosages as of February 20.
The provincial government plans to continue on the three-phase vaccine distribution plan, which began mid-December 2020. Due to the limited supply of vaccines, the first phase prioritizes vulnerable members of the community and the people in their immediate circles. These initial doses of the vaccine will be administered to long-term care and retirement homes.
In the meantime, the government is working on increasing vaccine stocks in preparation for the second phase, which was initially scheduled to begin in April. This phase focuses on providing vaccinations for frontline workers, the elderly population, and other high-risk individuals.
In light of the recent increase in vaccine supplies, the second phase is expected to proceed earlier than planned.
“Phase Two is set to begin as early as March,” read a report by CBC News. “This phase will add more vaccination sites, including municipally run locations, hospital sites, mobile vaccination locations, pharmacies, clinics, community-run health centres, and aboriginal health centres.”
By August, the government plans on making the Covid-19 vaccines broadly available to the entire Ontario population.
The Ontario government’s immunization plan states that 19 hospitals throughout the province will serve as vaccination clinics. However, as supplies increase, additional public health locations are expected to become vaccination sites.
In an interview with U of T News, Dr. Salvatore Spadafora, a professor at the University of Toronto, discussed the university’s potential role in administering Covid-19 vaccinations.
“Although we will not be receiving a supply of the vaccine or delivering it ourselves, U of T is offering space for vaccinations as needed—just like the City of Toronto has done with the immunization clinic in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre,” stated Dr. Spadafora. “It might also be possible for our health profession students—in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and the like—to assist in some manner.”
While the details regarding U of T’s part in the provincial vaccination program are currently unknown, more information is expected to be released by the city and the university administration soon.