Coronavirus: Ontario expects to vaccinate up to 8.5 million people by end of June

The Ontario government says it expects to vaccinate approximately 8.5 million people by the end of June against COVID-19.

Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force, laid out the three-phase plan again providing numbers of Ontarians expected to be vaccinated based on vaccine supply.

Hillier said Phase 1 will be completed roughly by the end of March with about 1 to 1.5 million Ontarians being vaccinated — which includes health care workers and First Nations.

Phase 2 will then begin in April and have another 7.5 million people vaccinated with 15 million doses by the end of June. Phase 3 will then begin late in the summer which includes anyone who wants to get a vaccine can get one.

“Our mission is a marathon, not a sprint,” Hillier said in an update on Tuesday.

“We will be working straight through, we will not take any more days off until we win this war against COVID-19,” Hillier said.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccinations cut back over holidays due to staff shortages, Ontario government says

Over the holidays, criticism surfaced online after the government scaled back on vaccinations due to staffing shortages with clinics closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and only a few clinics were open the following two days.

So far, 19 hospitals across Ontario are equipped with administering the immunizations.

Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 9 and the Moderna vaccine was approved on Dec. 23.

Staff and health-care workers at hospitals, retirement and long-term care homes are being prioritized for the first rounds of inoculations. Due to Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine needing to be refrigerated at -70 C, people must go to select hospitals to get that shot.

Hillier said the Moderna vaccine has not arrived in hands of the task force in Ontario but he said he expects the vaccine to arrive within 24 hours.

More to come.

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