Public health preparing for vaccine distribution

Article Sidebar

Article content

Basic COVID-19 vaccination plan details for Lambton were provided Wednesday while the province gave broad timelines for who can expect to be inoculated when.

Vaccines are expected to arrive in Lambton the week of Feb. 1, Lambton public health said in a late-afternoon news release.

Those are part of the first phase of the provincial vaccine implementation plan, targeting about 1.5-million residents, staff and essential caregivers at long-term care and retirement homes across Ontario to be vaccinated no later than Feb. 15, Premier Doug Ford’s office said in a news release Wednesday.

For hard-hit Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex, the target for phase one completion is Jan. 21.

Phase two, expected to start as early as March, includes elderly adults, people living and working in high-risk congregate settings, front-line essential workers such as teachers and first responders, and people with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, the province said.


Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content continued

The goal is 8.5 million people by the end of July, the province said, noting general population vaccination – phase three – could start in August, pending vaccine availability.

Lambton continues to meet with key stakeholders and sub-groups twice weekly to plan for the vaccine’s arrival, public health said in its news release.

An immunization plan is being developed, with the broad goals of preventing more COVID-19 deaths, protecting health and other systems, and building population immunity to enable economic and social activities critical to community long-term health and well-being, officials said.

“The vaccine implementation plan is our No. 1 priority,” Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health, said in the release.

“We have the knowledge and expertise to deliver this vaccine as quickly as possible, as we have done every year with the flu vaccine program, and as we worked with our partners to facilitate the safe vaccination of close to 50,000 Lambton residents in 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic. We are working very closely with local partners to plan for secure vaccine storage.”

Long-term care homes are gathering consents, and preparing lists with staff and residents to be vaccinated, as well as setting up tentative appointments, he said.

“So that as soon as we know when the vaccine will arrive, we will be able to provide immunizations within 24 hours.”

Priority groups to follow nursing and retirement homes include other health-care workers, other congregate care settings, First Nations communities and older adults, public health said.

There is no wait list for the vaccine, and following public-health advice to help stop the spread of the virus is still important, officials said.

“If we can get our most vulnerable citizens vaccinated early, as well as the front-line health-care staff critical to the management and containment of COVID-19, we will then be able to focus on the other groups in order of vulnerability,” Ranade said.

“It is our goal to have inoculated everyone who wants to receive the vaccine as soon as we can possibly do so.”