A small number of seniors over the age of 80 could be able to book appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as Feb. 27.
At a Feb. 25 regional council meeting, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, announced that seniors in Brampton and Mississauga can start getting vaccinated in the region’s local hospitals (Trillium Health Partners’ Mississauga Hospital and Credit Valley Hospital and William Osler’s Brampton Civic Hospital) as early as this month.
Loh cautioned council that the amount of vaccine could be quite limited to start, with hospitals only able to offer “dozens” or “hundreds” of shots to eligible residents who are 80-years-old or older–the group most at risk of death or serious illness from COVID-19.
“Over the weekend (Feb. 27-28), [Trillium Health Partners (THP)] will begin administering a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines to the 80 years and older age group by booking in partnership with our Mississauga Ontario Health Team as well as to THP patients in the hospital who are 80 years and older,” THP said in an email to insauga.com.
“At this time, COVID-19 vaccine supply remains limited and as such, it’s not possible to vaccinate all 80 years and older community members at once. We will take a staged approach that will help ensure easy access to people 80 years of age and older in the immediate term, while building capacity in preparation for broad community immunization.”
THP said it will soon release more details on how residents over 80 can receive their vaccination.
“In the meantime, we ask for patience as we work to ensure we can provide timely efficient access to the COVID-19 vaccine for this group. We are working as quickly as possible to book appointments and vaccinate the community, however, it will take some time for everyone to have an opportunity,” THP said.
The news comes days after retired General Rick Hillier, who is in charge of vaccination distribution in Ontario, announced that seniors will be able to book vaccinations online or through a service desk starting March 15.
Hillier, who said that timelines are subject to change based on supply, told reporters that people 75 and older should start getting immunized mid-April, and those 70 and older at the start of May. Ontarians 65 and over will be next in June, and those 60 and older will start getting shots the following month.
The timelines, which some have called conservative, are based on anticipated deliveries of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines exclusively. On Feb. 26, Health Canada approved the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, which could mean that priority populations are vaccinated sooner.
Canada has pre-ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was co-developed by researchers at the University of Oxford. It will also receive up to 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX by the end of June.
Health Canada is also reviewing two other vaccines, one by Johnson and Johson and another by Novavax. Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine will likely not come until late February or early March and Novavax is not expected until April.
The same day that Loh announced the Feb. 27 start date, Peel Public Health (PPH) announced that the Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) has successfully opened two vaccination clinic locations and is administering COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals in Phase 1 (such as long-term care residents and front line health care workers) of the province’s prioritization framework.
PPH also released a graph detailing where other clinics will be located:
PPH says broad communication on who will be vaccinated next, clinic dates and locations–as well as options for making an appointment–will be shared in different languages through a variety of ways, including the Region of Peel’s website, social media platforms and print and digital channels.
As of the week of Feb. 22, 45,300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Peel Region including over 15,500 doses in long-term care and retirement homes.
With files from The Canadian Press
Cover photo courtesy of The Canadian Press