Plan for distributing, prioritizing COVID-19 vaccine well underway: Elliott
Published Monday, November 16, 2020 7:43AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 16, 2020 2:05PM EST
Ontario’s Health Ministry is working on plans about how to best distribute and determine highest need for COVID-19 vaccination, as two vaccine candidates on Canada’s list have now shown significant promise in trials.
With Pfizer and Moderna now saying their vaccines showed at least 90 per cent efficacy in large-scale stage three trials, Health Minister Christine Elliott said there is a team working away at how to best distribute vaccines once they arrive.
“We do have an entire team at MOH who is working on the distribution,” Elliott said Monday.
She said it’s not just a question of how – as the Pfizer vaccine candidate must be stored below -70 celsius – but who gets the doses first.
“We also have ethicists on this group to help us make sure that it’s distributed fairly and equitably, to those who absolutely need it most,” she said. “This is a top priority for us in the ministry of health.”
Earlier on Monday, infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said he thought it was likely there would be some form of vaccination effort underway in Canada by “February or March” of 2021.
Elliott said she thought the province would have some quantity of either vaccine “in the next few months.”
Epidemiologist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy said the news about vaccine trials should be treated for what it is, a light at the end of the tunnel and not an excuse to eschew public health measures.
“We’ve got to make sure that we have a good strategy in terms of maintaining healthy habits for the next several months.”
Ford heralded the positive news from Moderna, and suggested “frontline healthcare workers and long-term care” employees would be first in line to receive a vaccine.
The federal government has ordered 76 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine candidate, as well as 20 million firm orders for the Moderna candidate, with an option for 36 million more.
Each vaccine will require a subject to receive two doses in order to be effective.