Ontario to release order, timeframe for population groups to get COVID-19 vaccine

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario officials discuss COVID-19 ethical framework for vaccine distribution, prioritization' Coronavirus: Ontario officials discuss COVID-19 ethical framework for vaccine distribution, prioritization
WATCH ABOVE: Bioethicist Dr. Maxwell Smith discussed Ontario’s COVID-19 ethical framework for vaccine prioritization and distribution and outlined the six guiding principles of the framework, which he said "aim to enhance the consistency" in decision making, as well as stewardship of resources, accountability and public trust – Dec 30, 2020

Ontario will lay out the order and timeframe in which specific population groups will be immunized against COVID-19, possibly within the next few weeks.

Dr. Dirk Huyer, a member of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, says the group is working to determine the sequencing “over the next number of weeks,” after which it should be publicly released.

He says it won’t be broken down at the individual level, but by category such as health-care workers.

Huyer says that within each category, there will be further prioritization based on factors such as risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the number of cases in a geographic area.

Read more: 50,000 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine expected to arrive in Ontario on Wednesday

The province has released its ethical framework for determining who will get immunized first as more doses of various COVID-19 shots are delivered.

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The principles listed in the framework include equity, fairness and transparency, and stress the need to protect those who face the greatest risk of serious illness and death due to “biological, social, geographical, and occupational factors.”

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The announcement came as some 50,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were set to arrive in Ontario.

Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, who is leading the province’s COVID-19 vaccination program, has said the drug will be distributed to long-term care and retirement homes, with immunizations slated to start there within days of the delivery.

Click to play video 'Ontario expects to begin mass vaccinations by spring 2021' Ontario expects to begin mass vaccinations by spring 2021
Ontario expects to begin mass vaccinations by spring 2021 – Dec 29, 2020

Hillier said Tuesday that more than half of Ontarians — about 8.5 million — should receive the vaccine by the end of July.

Another vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech is already being administered to health-care workers, but its storage requirements limit where that can be done.

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Meanwhile, Ontario reported 2,923 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic.

The province also logged 19 new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 998 of the new cases reported today are in Toronto, 441 in Peel Region, 408 in York Region, 158 in Durham and 144 in Windsor-Essex County.