Waterloo Region could see its first COVID-19 vaccination as early as Dec. 23, according to the head of the region’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force.
“We anticipate our first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine to be received as early as December 23,” Waterloo Regional Police Service deputy chief Shirley Hilton told reporters on Friday morning during Waterloo Public Health’s weekly briefing.
“If we receive the vaccine in a timely manner, we will be able to administer doses on that date, and if not, we will begin vaccinating on December 24th.”
The first vaccine will be administered at Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital.
The hospital was announced by the province as one of 17 across Ontario that will receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine over the next two weeks.
The province says around 90,000 doses are expected by year’s end.
“I can’t speak to the exact amount we might be receiving at this time,” Hilton said.
The first doses administered at Grand River Hospital will go to health-care and long-term-care workers.
“These will be done by appointment only,” Hilton said. “We encourage members of the public to not call local pharmacies or their doctors to book an appointment for the vaccine.”
She said it is too early to know when a vaccine might be ready for wider use but they are planning for that eventuality.
“Although a vaccine is an important step towards recovering, safe distribution to the general public will take time,” Hilton explained.
“There is planning already in place to facilitate other doses and potentially other clinics, but that’s down the road, depending on when the Moderna vaccine is available.”