Next week, 30,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are being delivered to 14 “point-of-delivery” sites across the country where prioritized groups will be given the first small batch of shots.
After that, continuous deliveries—up to 249,000 doses—are planned to land in this country by the end of December.
Because the initial number of doses is so few—enough to vaccinate 124,500 people in total given the two shots required—premiers have had to pinpoint specific cohorts to go first.
Over the next few months the hopes are to set up additional delivery sites, meaning more regions and demographics will have access to the Pfizer vaccine, and potentially others, from coast to coast.
“Things are moving rapidly with the COVID-19 vaccine distribution campaign,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin on Thursday.
“While the pace of the rollout may feel a bit frantic right now… The provinces have indicated that they are ready, have the infrastructure, the training materials, the supplies, and processes in place to receive the first shipments of Pfizer vaccines and to begin immunizations,” said the top military general who is leading the rollout from the Public Health Agency of Canada, adding that the first shipments may begin arriving in the provinces, on Monday.
Here’s a brief rundown of what we know about how each province is handling their distribution of the first few thousands of doses.
British Columbia: The first vaccines will be given in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and the Fraser Health region.
The doses are going to people working in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities, as well as those in high-risk environments such as hospital emergency wards and intensive care units (ICU).
Alberta: The first vaccines will be given at the University of Alberta Hospital and Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, and the Peter Lougheed Centre and the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
The doses are going to ICU doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists and long-term care workers.
Saskatchewan: The first vaccines will be given at the Regina General Hospital.
The doses are going to health-care workers in ICUs, emergency and COVID-19 units. Some quantity of the immunization will also go to staff of COVID-19 testing centres as well.
Manitoba: The first vaccines will be given in Winnipeg.
The doses are going to health-care workers most directly involved in COVID-19 response such as those in critical care units, and then to senior citizens in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities.
Ontario: The first vaccines will be given at the Ottawa Hospital and the University Health Network in Toronto.
The doses are going to health-care workers providing care in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings.
Quebec: The first vaccines will be given in Montreal.
The doses are going to residents of a few long-term care homes in the area, followed by health professionals.
New Brunswick: The first vaccines will be given at the Miramichi Regional Hospital.
The doses are going to long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers who respond to COVID-19 outbreaks, extra-mural staff and paramedics, other health-care workers, First Nations nurses, and seniors over 85.
Nova Scotia: The first vaccines will be given in Halifax.
The doses are going to workers in COVID-19 care units, regional care units, and intensive care units that treat COVID-19 patients.
Newfoundland and Labrador: The first vaccines will be given in St. John’s.
It remains unclear who the first vaccines will be given to.
Prince Edward Island: It remains unclear where the first vaccines will be given.
The doses are going to priority groups in line with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendations, which suggests in no order that vaccines go first to: residents and staff in seniors’ facilities; adults 80 years of age and older; health-care workers with high exposure risks; and Indigenous communities.
The territories: On Wednesday, federal health officials said that due to the Pfizer vaccine’s temperature sensitivity and requirements for advanced cold storage inside a medical facility, the territories will not be receiving any of the initial doses. Territorial leaders have opted to wait for the likely second vaccine to be approved, from Moderna.