Vaccine approved by Health Canada
The first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines is due to arrive in Canada on Monday.
The 30-thousand doses will be distributed to 14 centres across Canada, each site to be determined by the provinces.
Seniors living in long-term care and retirement homes, as well as health care staff, will be first on the list.
More regular supplies are expected to begin arriving in April.
Federal health officials are hoping to have half the population vaccinated by June, with the entire country covered by September.
The Public Health Agency of Canada gave its formal approval to the Pfizer vaccine yesterday.
But officials say it’s not recommended for those under 16, because there’s not enough information yet about its effects on young people.
And they say they’ll continue to monitor the situation in Britain.
That country’s national health regulator says people who have a history of serious allergic reactions should not get the inoculation, after two people suffered serious reactions.
The vaccine in Ontario
Premier Doug Ford says word that the first vaccines are due to arrive on Monday is “phenomenal news.”
Ford says, as soon as the inoculations arrive, provincial officials will be ready to distribute them.
There will be two sites in Ontario designated to receive the first vaccines, since they require special storage at minus 80 degrees.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says the location of those two sites will be announced shortly.
There are 21 hospitals across the province with suitable storage facilities.
Fullerton says seniors must be protected
As Ontario battles COVID-19, it’s clear that the virus, despite its second wave, has not let up its tight grip on long-term care homes.
61% of Ontario’s 3,836 deaths are in long-term care homes.
Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, Merrilee Fullerton, says that’s because it’s nearly impossible to detect every single case of the virus coming into the homes.
She says that homes have now begun both rapid testing, as well as regular testing in batches to help understand in a timely manner who is testing positive, which provides them with more opportunity to keep the virus out of the homes.
Since December, 98 deaths have occurred in homes across the province.
Selling alcohol outside the norm
Temporary regulations allowing restaurants and bars to sell liquor to patrons to take home have been made permanent by the provincial government.
The Ford government introduced the regulation in March that allowed liquor to be sold with take-out and home-delivery orders.
Attorney General Doug Downey says the industry has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s move will help them cope as restrictions continue into the future.