A personal support worker from Toronto is the first person in Ontario, and Canada, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
This, according to Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“Today is a historic day for Ontario and for Canada as the first Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines have started to be given to our frontline health care heroes,” said Ford in a statement on Monday.
“I would especially like to recognize Anita Quidangen, the first person in Ontario and Canada, to receive the shot. Anita is a personal support worker (PSW) from the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place, a long-term care home in Toronto. She has worked tirelessly to care for some of our most vulnerable, both throughout this pandemic and since her first days as a PSW in 1988.”
Ford added that Quidangen represents the best of the Ontario Spirit.
In Ontario, over 2,500 health care workers in our hospitals and long-term care homes will be vaccinated over the coming days and weeks, with more people to follow as additional shipments arrive, according to Ford.
The premier also encouraged everyone to be patient.
“This is the biggest immunization program in a century, and our vaccine supply will arrive in stages. General Hillier and the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force are working with Health Canada and other provincial and territorial partners to ensure the vaccines are distributed quickly, so people can get immunized as soon as possible.”
Health Canada approved Pfizer’s vaccine candidate on December 9, and immunizations were expected to start as early as December 15. Up to 249,000 doses are expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
Canada has deals with seven vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, to procure up to 194 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Health officials have the option to purchase an additional 220 million doses if need be.
“This is a watershed moment – the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic,” Ford said.
“The light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter every day, but we must remain on our guard.”