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Ottawa stretching city’s COVID-19 vaccine supply with 6 doses per vial

Ottawa health-care workers have been able to extract six doses of the coronavirus vaccine from some vials, the local public health unit says, boosting the local supply. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Ottawa has surpassed the city’s stated inventory amid efforts to extract a sixth dose from each vial, according to the local public health unit.

Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard shows 26,337 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have now been administered as of Monday.

That surpasses the stated number of 25,350 doses so far received in Ottawa. The city’s inventory estimates are based on an expectation that only five doses are extracted from each vial of the vaccine Ottawa has received.

The discrepancy in figures is accounted for through the occasional successful extraction of a sixth dose, OPH says in a note on its dashboard.

While standard syringes can reliably draw five doses from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the drugmaker has pushed Health Canada to advise the extraction of a sixth dose through a specialized needle amid short supply and fervent demand for the vaccine.

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Ottawa, as well as the rest of Ontario, has received no new doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the past week due to a freeze in shipments.

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But the city’s vaccine distribution task force has continued to administer what supply it has on-hand, prioritizing long-term care residents in need of their second dose.

Long-term care homes in Ottawa started a second round of vaccinations on Friday, beginning with residents of the Perley Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre.

Long-term care operator Extendicare said in a statement that 400 residents living in three of its homes in Ottawa — Medex, Laurier Manor and West End Villa — received their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday.

Extendicare said it expects residents of its other two homes, New Orchard Lodge and Starwood, will learn when they will receive their second doses in the coming days.

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Read more: Ottawa nurse tests positive for coronavirus after receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Meanwhile, OPH reported 22 new cases of COVID-19 in the city on Monday, following increases of 46 cases on Sunday and 74 cases on Saturday.

No new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported on Monday.

The number of active coronavirus cases in Ottawa now stands at 599.

Ottawa’s coronavirus per cent positivity has dropped to 1.8 per cent in the past week, while the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases has fallen to 55 as of Monday.

Public Health Ontario said in its daily report that the number of confirmed cases of the U.K. coronavirus variant remains at three.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa now stands at 32, with six people in the intensive care unit.

There are currently 37 ongoing coronavirus outbreaks in Ottawa.

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