Canada can expect another 910,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week, as manufacturers ramp up production, shipments and deliveries ahead of their 8 million doses by March 31 deadline.
“It’s getting a little better,” says Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, regarding the vaccine’s supply. “There’s a surge coming in, about 1 million vaccines, and that would shake out to about 450,000 for us this week.” Another 460,000 or so doses are expected later on.
Canada is still fighting against numerous delays of vaccine shipments after extreme winter weather last month and supply shortages. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this week that doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, approved last week, have been delayed due to manufacturing issues.
Another way to speed up the vaccine’s roll-out across the country could be to administer doses of the various COVID-19 vaccines in pharmacies, outside of mass vaccination clinics organized by public health staff.
During Question Period at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, Health Minister Christine Elliot announced Ontario would be revealing a list of over 300 pharmacies that plan to administer doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, approved by Health Canada late last month.
“There are some discussions about the kind of surges moving forward that could bump up the timelines that have been established,” adds Rickford. “For our part, I’ve spent a great deal of time to make sure that various communities were ready to administer vaccines.”
Earlier this week, the Northwestern Health Unit announced local mass vaccination clinics would begin on March 22 in the region, across 12 communities in their catchment area. The clinics will be held every two weeks in most communities, and once a week in Kenora.
Mass vaccination sites will take place in Kenora, Dryden, Red Lake, Ear Falls, Ignace, Sioux Lookout, Rainy River, Emo, Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, Fort Frances, Pickle Lake and Atikokan in northwestern Ontario.
Eligible residents, which includes healthcare workers and adults over the age of 80, will be able to book their appointments as of March 15 online, through Ontario’s soon-to-be-launched online COVID-19 vaccination appointment service.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is asked to get tested and self-isolate immediately, and to stay in isolation until your test results are known.