Accelerated vaccination rollout continues despite supply delays
TORONTO — The first round of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in every long-term care home across Ontario to eligible residents who wanted one. This goal was achieved despite repeated delays and reductions of vaccine shipments. To date, more than 62,000 long-term care residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 34,000 residents have received their second dose.
“It is critically important to vaccinate, and provide an extra layer of protection, for the residents in our long-term care homes and those who care for them,” said Premier Doug Ford. “But due to a shortage of supply and unpredictable deliveries, meeting our goals has been a challenge. Thanks to the well-oiled machine here in Ontario, led by General Hillier and his team, we have made incredible progress in our vaccine rollout, offering our seniors and their families peace of mind during this difficult period.”
“This milestone marks an important step towards the immunization of our most vulnerable,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “As we await details and timelines on further shipments from the federal government, I remain grateful for the coordinated efforts of all of our health care partners for quickly delivering the available vaccines to our loved ones.”
As the administration of second doses continues, Ontario will maintain the recommended interval of 21-27 days for residents who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario has invested $1.38 billion toensure that long-term care homes have the resources they need to battle this virus. The government has also taken action to address urgent staffing shortages, including enabling the deployment of hospital staff to long-term care homes.
The province’s vaccine strategy prioritizes the most vulnerable populations first, including residents of long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes.
As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines continues, the Ontario government is investing an additional $398 million during the second wave of the pandemic to reduce the risk of the virus entering long-term care homes from the community.
Ontario has taken steps to enhance protection for long-term care homes through the use of rapid antigen tests to increase the chance of detecting the virus earlier.
To address long-standing staffing challenges, the government has launched one of the largest recruitment and training drives in the province’s history to deliver on its commitment to provide an average of four hours of daily direct care for residents.