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COVID-19 vaccines coming to Oshawa

Lakeridge Health is on the list to receive some doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Ontario is expecting to receive up to 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses from the federal government before the end of the year to continue vaccinating health care workers and essential caregivers working in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors.

The province will be distributing additional doses of the vaccine to 17 more hospital sites, including regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection.

“Following a successful pilot, we are excited to continue onto the next stage of our rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians,” says Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott. “While we are planning to ensure that everyone who wants a vaccine will receive one, we need to first protect our frontline workers and those providing essential care to our most vulnerable.”

In addition to Lakeridge Health, the hospital sites set to receive the next shipment of vaccines include Windsor Regional Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, Grand River Hospital, Halton Healthcare, Hamilton Health Sciences, William Osler Health System, Trillium Health Partners, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Mackenzie Health, Humber River Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto East Health Network, Unity Health Toronto, Scarborough Health Network, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

This rollout is part of the initial phase of the province’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan, which began on Dec. 14.

Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) was the first site to receive and administer the initial vaccines, followed by the launch of the pilot project at UHN and The Ottawa Hospital on Dec. 15.

To date, as part of the pilot project, Toronto’s UHN and The Ottawa Hospital have administered more than 2,300 doses and will continue to vaccinate more than 2,500 health care workers providing care in hospitals and long-term care homes.

Durham Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Kyle says whatever the responsibility, Durham Region Health Department “will be ready.”

He notes the health department works with area school boards each school year through the School Immunization Program to ensure all students receive the appropriate vaccines at the correct time as outlined in the provincial immunization schedule.

“Health Department staff spend many hours tracking thousands of students across Durham Region to confirm that all vaccines are up to date and any missing vaccine preventable diseases,” says Kyle, adding staff also manage a number of department immunization clinics geared toward students who may have missed a school vaccination clinic, or members of vulnerable populations who may be challenged in accessing a health care provider.

Kyle says the region’s health department has also worked for almost 20 years to oversee and manage the province’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program in Durham Region, working with health care officers, pharmacies and other providers to deliver the flu vaccine to members of the community.

Kyle says he will continue to work with the province and other partners as more information becomes available.

“Whatever role we will play in the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, we will be ready,” says Kyle. “We look forward to working with the province and other partners, including Region of Durham Paramedic Services, Durham Emergency Management and Lakeridge Health, as more information is received regarding the availability of COVID-19 vaccine in Durham Region.”