Ontario government confirms COVID-19 vaccines withheld to secure supply

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Ontario government confirms COVID-19 vaccines withheld to secure supply


TORONTO – Ontario public health units are holding onto doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure an adequate supply, according to the provincial government, resulting in fewer vaccinations on weekends.
Ontario’s immunization rates have steadily declined on Saturdays and Sundays during the month of March, dropping to 31,335 doses given last Sunday – the lowest in 14 days.

Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, whose office facilitated vaccine distribution, suggested weekend immunizations are limited due to “inventory management.”

“Public health units, especially those hosting mass vaccination sites, had to be a little more careful on Saturday and Sunday to ensure they had sufficient supplies. [for the next week], if there was a limitation that occurred to the federal government, ”Jones told reporters at Queen’s Park.

While the Minister of Health recently told the provincial legislature that there was “no vaccine in the freezers,” Jones acknowledged that doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are indeed on the ice pending release. be administered.

« [Public health units] wanted a day or two of supply in the freezer, which makes perfect sense when you’re thinking about starting a mass immunization clinic, only to find that halfway through the day you’ve run out of stock, ”Jones said .

Premier Doug Ford said local health officials could save up to “one, two, maybe three days” of doses to avoid supply chain disruptions and to avoid canceling appointments. -you.

Ford said “nothing would be worse” than stepping up a mass vaccination program to encounter delivery problems similar to the January drought in vaccines that forced some clinics to close days after opening.

“The challenge is to book tens of thousands of appointments,” said Ford. “I wish we could pump it up to 100-150,000 a day without worrying about the supply.”

While Ford has expressed concerns about the supply, Ontario is planning nearly one million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines this week, giving the city of Toronto the confidence to book 133,000 appointments. you over the next few weeks.

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who is leading the city’s emergency response to the pandemic, noted a sense of “optimism” among provincial officials about scheduled vaccine deliveries.

So far, Ontario has received 1.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and has administered more than 1.5 million, leaving 227,000 doses unused.

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