Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force to provide update on rollout plans

TORONTO — The chair of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force is expected to provide an update on province’s vaccination program rollout today.

Retired General Rick Hillier, who leading is leading the COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, will hold a news conference Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Queen’s Park.

The announcement comes as the province reported, earlier this week, that each of Ontario’s 34 public health units would be tasked with creating their own strategy for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to their residents.

The province said each local medical officer of health has already submitted a plan on how they will inoculate priority groups in the weeks and months ahead, which are all being characterized by the government as being “unique.”

The public health units will be responsible for sharing their strategy with the public, communicating with patients and residents, and deciding where vaccines should be administered.

Officials said that Hillier has been in “frequent communication” with all local medical health officers as they develop their strategies.

Ontario is receiving more than 230,000 doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine this week, allowing the government to better plan out its inoculation strategy, weeks after vaccine shortages put the plans on pause. 

The province is currently in Phase 1 of its vaccination rollout program, and so far, first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been offered to all long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents and staff.

The province has said it administered 585,707 doses of a vaccine to residents so far and that 247,042 of those people have gotten their second shot and are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Last week, the vaccine task force said Ontario residents, who are 80 years old and over, would begin to receive their first dose within the next couple of weeks.

The province is expected to move to Phase 2 of its vaccination rollout plan in April when people between the ages of 60 and 79 will be next on the priority list.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Colin D’Mello 

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