As Ontario awaits further supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the province has directed to stop administering first doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to anyone except priority residents.
Residents, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes and high risk retirement homes will continue to be vaccinated.
According to the province, Pfizer expects they will be able to send enough vaccine supply to restart by March.
“The news of the temporary halt in administering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines is extremely frustrating,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who says the city has administered over 10,000 vaccinations to date.
“With the rising number of people testing positive for the virus in our community, it is imperative we complete the two-dose vaccination program for our most vulnerable populations.”
Residents who have already received a first dose of either vaccine will still be able to get a second dose, the city says.
The mobile clinic, which began bringing the vaccine to vulnerable residents last Sunday, has reportedly completed vaccinations at the following facilities: Idylewyld Manor, St. Peter’s Residence, Hamilton Continuing Care, Macassa Lodge, Shalom Village, The Village at Wentworth Heights, Arbour Creek, Grace Villa, Clarion Nursing Home, Lakeview Nursing Home and Alexander Place.
The mobile clinic team completed vaccinations at additional long-term care facilities this weekend.
“Now, it is up to each of us to do everything it takes to stop the spread of this virus and continue to follow public health advice,” the mayor added. “We cannot let this set-back take us all off course or lose focus. We can and will get through this together.”
COVID-19 vaccinations have been slowing down across the province in response to a shipping delay from drugmaker Pfizer BioNTech.
Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams says the company’s decision to temporarily delay international vaccine shipments will likely have an effect on the province, though the full impact of the move is not yet known.
Williams says long-term care residents, caregivers and staff who already received their first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine will receive their second dose between 21 and 27 days later, no more than a week longer than originally planned.
With files from The Canadian Press