The federal government is laying out plans to buy and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, entering into contracts with seven potential manufacturers and saying six million doses could reach the country in the first quarter of 2021.
The latest development in Ottawa came Friday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a former NATO commander, Major General. Danny Fortin to lead the national distribution effort.
But various provinces are starting to clarify their plans, too. Here’s a look at what they have said so far:
The province’s chief medical officer for health said he will release a detailed COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan once Ottawa shares more information.
Dr. Robert Strang said on Friday that there was no certainty yet about the availability of the vaccine, but he expressed hope that the initial supply would flow into Nova Scotia early in the new year.
Strang said the detailed regional plan, which will be released once the federal government shares more details at its end, will include strict supply oversight and clear rules dictating who can be the first to take charge of vaccination.
He said he was awaiting more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to logistics and warehousing.
The county will be ready to begin rolling out its vaccine plan from January 1, senior politicians say.
Prime Minister Francois Legault said Thursday that public health officials have already settled on a list of priority vaccine recipients, but he did not disclose details. Legault said the county is also working on putting in the necessary infrastructure to support the vaccine launch.
This includes getting the refrigerators capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed by one of the most promising potential vaccine options currently being developed by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
Quebec has also commissioned Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Jerome Gagnon and former Regional Public Health Director Dr. Richard Maas to oversee the province’s vaccination efforts.
Prime Minister Doug Ford is among those leaders who have demanded that Ottawa provide more clarity as officials scramble to develop a provincial vaccination strategy.
Early speculation about how many doses the county could receive earlier this week was halted when Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the making.
But Ford went ahead, appointing the former chief of national defense, retired General Rick Hellyer, to oversee a vaccine launch in the county.
Hillier said on Friday he hoped to have a plan in place by the end of the year, while Ford urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on a possible vaccine delivery.
“We need a clear line of sight in the timelines for shipments,” said Ford.
Watch | Ontario is preparing a vaccine plan as the number of daily cases has risen to a record high:
The province’s top medical official said she expects to receive 680,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure the federal government has yet to confirm.
Dr Dina Henshaw also said that a number of obstacles and unknowns remain as the county works to develop its vaccination plan.
“these [vaccine] Of course, the numbers depend on many factors, Henshaw said on November 18.
“They are counting on the final parts of the trials that are doing well. They are counting on ensuring the safety and effectiveness of early vaccines. All those checks and balances need to be cleared.”
Watch | Hinshaw talks about a potential vaccine:
On Friday, Henshaw said the county is working with Ottawa to get a vaccine, but it is a “slightly moving target” when vaccines are available.
“But our goal is that whenever a vaccine becomes available, we will be ready to start vaccinating individuals on that top priority list.”
Provincial health officials announced on Wednesday that the province’s vaccine strategy is already underway.
Dr Bonnie Henry, the county’s chief physician, said Dr Ross Brown of Vancouver Coastal Health will join the group working to organize logistics around vaccine distribution.
Henry said frontline workers as well as workers in long-term care homes will likely have priority vaccinations.
And she cautioned that while the county has contracts with vaccine makers, there could be challenges with overseas manufacturing.
Watch | Henry says the potential vaccine is “fantastic”:
“It’s very focused on who is most at risk and how we best protect them,” said Henry. “There is a lot of discussion that needs to happen.”
Henry said the county hopes to have vaccinations by January.
Prime Minister Sandy Silver told the legislature on Wednesday that the province has been in discussions with various levels of government about the vaccine rollout plan.
He said the goal would be to provide vaccinations to the elderly and health care providers.
Silver said rural and remote communities should also have priority status in the northern regions, a fact he said he emphasized with the federal authorities.
The prime minister said he has joined other provincial and territorial leaders in pressing for a national strategy for vaccine deployment.
“How confusing would it be for 13 different strategies across the country?” He said.
Silver said that the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems to remote communities due to cold storage requirements, but that these issues may not apply to other vaccines under development.
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