Ford to inspect research facility for storage of COVID-19 vaccine

Dec 8 2020, 6:29 am

Premier Doug Ford will be inspecting a research facility for storage capabilities of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday afternoon.

Ford will be joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force.

They’ll tour a research facility at University Health Network to inspect the equipment.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 249,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be delivered in December, with the first shipment coming next week. But it still needs to be approved by Health Canada.

The vaccine needs to be stored at -70°C making it a “logistical challenge.”

The provincial government also announced yesterday the groups receiving the vaccine doses in the first few months of the Ontario immunization program. They will include:

  • residents, staff, essential caregivers, and other employees of congregate living settings (e.g., long-term care homes and retirement homes) that provide care for seniors, as they are at higher risk of infection and serious illness from COVID-19;
  • healthcare workers, including hospital employees, other staff who work or study in hospitals, and other healthcare personnel;
  • adults in Indigenous communities, including remote communities where risk of transmission is high; and
  • adult recipients of home healthcare.

According to the province, the rollout of the vaccine will be prioritized in regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection, including those in the Red-Control and Lockdown zones. The immunization program will focus on healthcare workers and the most vulnerable populations in those regions.

The tour of the UHN facility will take place at 1 pm. But unlike most weekdays during the pandemic, Ford is not expected to hold a media availability.