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‘This vaccine is liquid gold:’ Ontario set to begin COVID-19 immunizations on Tuesday

Click to play video 'Toronto, Ottawa first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario' Toronto, Ottawa first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario
WATCH ABOVE: Toronto, Ottawa first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario. The province will be receiving 6,000 of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday that will be administered starting Tuesday in Toronto and Ottawa. Erica Vella has details on the rollout plan – Dec 10, 2020

The Ontario government is on track to provide the first COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday, officials say.

Ontario expects to receive 6,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday and will give them to approximately 2,500 health-care workers at a hospital in Toronto and another in Ottawa.

Retired gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading Ontario’s vaccine task force, said half the shots will be administered next week, and the other half will be intentionally held back to give the same workers a required second dose 21 days later.

“Given the sort of information flow of what we know about the supply, which is very little at this time … we decided it was better to err on the side of caution,” he said.

Read more: Coronavirus: Ottawa, Toronto to each receive 3,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine next week

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An additional 90,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive later this month and are to be provided to 14 hospitals in COVID-19 hot spots.

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Hillier has said the province also expects to receive between 30,000 and 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the new year, pending its approval by Health Canada.

He said the start of the vaccination program next week will serve as a pilot that will help fine-tune the next step of the rollout.

Click to play video 'Health Matters: Can people with severe allergies get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?' Health Matters: Can people with severe allergies get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?
Health Matters: Can people with severe allergies get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine? – Dec 10, 2020

“Once that is finished, both (hospitals) will write a playbook on how they’ve done the vaccinations, how they’ve handled the Pfizer vaccine, what they’ve learned from it, and we will share that around Ontario with the hospitals for the next phase,” he said.

Ontario’s Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that the hospitals receiving the first shots have made security arrangements to ensure the vaccine is safe from theft.

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“This vaccine is liquid gold,” she said.

“We are getting a very limited supply, and we wanted to make sure that we had done our due diligence to ensure that the sites were ready (and) protected.”