The Ontario government is working with other sectors and industry leaders to store, distribute, transport, and administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it arrives.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province would be using resources from both the public and private sectors, who “already play an important role in supporting the storage, distribution, transportation, administration, tracking and monitoring of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, in the province.”
According to the province, distribution channels will depend on the details provided by the federal government about the requirements for specific vaccines, such as ultra-cold storage, the timing of delivery, and priority populations for vaccination.
Ontario government officials say they will be ready by December 31 to receive vaccines, with the first doses of vaccines expected to be made available in 2021.
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The province will receive initial logistical support from vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer.
The COVID-19 task force, headed by General Rick Hillier, will work with scientists and ethics professionals to advise the government’s prioritization of vaccine delivery for different populations.
“Collaborating with industry experts in health care and logistics will be key to ensuring we are prepared by December 31 for the first phase of rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, when they are available,” said Elliott.
“Under the leadership of General Hillier, the province will be ready to launch Ontario’s COVID-19 immunization program.”
Elliott also added that the vaccine will not be mandatory in work settings and will be a voluntary vaccine.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada would potentially have the most COVID-19 vaccine doses per capita in the world based on the seven deals made with pharmaceutical companies.
Trudeau acknowledged that while the vaccine might be approved faster in the US, he wanted to ensure all the steps are taken to make sure the vaccines are safe for Canadians, “so when we start rolling them out, people can get that vaccine with confidence,” he said.