First Moderna COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Guelph area

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Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has announced a shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has arrived and is being sent to long-term care and retirement homes in the region.

A spokesperson said 3,700 doses arrived on Friday and will be administered to residents and patients of care facilities.

Read more: Moderna vaccine approved - What we know about side effects, ingredients and doses

Moderna’s vaccine is more widely accessible than its competitor’s, Pfizer, because it can be stored in regular freezers, as opposed to the -70 C refrigerators needed to safely store the Pfizer vaccine.

It can also be distributed easily, which is why it’s being sent to care facilities across the region.

Public health spokesperson Danny Williamson wouldn’t say which facilities would get the vaccine first, but said it would be “a number of long-term care and retirement homes based on who is most at risk and ready to vaccinate.”

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He added that it would be possible to vaccinate at facilities that currently have an active outbreak.

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“Depends on the outbreak,” he said in an email. “We will be working through these on a case-by-case basis.”

Like Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine is a two-dose series given approximately one month apart through a muscle injection.

Williamson said more Moderna shots are expected to arrive, so they will not be holding doses back for the second round of vaccinations.

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Public Health has also received 2,925 doses of the Pfizer vaccine since its vaccination program began on Jan. 6

As of Sunday night, a total of 3,371 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. Second doses will begin the week of Jan. 25.

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Pfizer’s vaccine is being allocated for health-care workers in the region and is solely being administered at public health’s Guelph office where they are being stored in specialized refrigerators.

Read more: Pfizer to resume COVID-19 vaccine shipments to EU within two weeks but Canada says no changes yet

Another 1,950 doses are scheduled to arrive this week from Pfizer but the status of that shipment is up in the air after Pfizer announced Friday it would be temporarily reducing the number of vaccines in its shipments.

However, Canada’s shipment for the week of Jan. 18 remains “largely unaffected,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Saturday.

— With files from Global News’ Emerald Bensaduon

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