Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be administered at Ontario long-term care homes this week

First shipment of Moderna doses expected Wednesday

Retired General Rick Hillier expects the first 50,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Ontario on Wednesday.

Hillier, who heads the province’s vaccine distribution, told a media briefing Tuesday residents in several long-term care homes will begin to receive the vaccine soon after.

“We anticipate that Moderna will arrive tomorrow, and within 48 to 72 hours we will be vaccinating people in several long-term care homes, potentially a retirement home. And again, we’ll be composing a playbook as we do that, and learning the lessons,” said Hillier.

The Moderna vaccine has advantages over the one from Pfizer-BioNtech, which must be stored at at least -70C., which makes it easier to transport.

Residents at a few long-term care homes will be rolling up their sleeves later this week.

“We want to go into one or two or three long-term care homes, we want to do it very carefully. We want to vaccinate the residents there using the staff in the homes where it’s possible, augmenting them where it’s necessary and preparing a playbook from that,” Hillier said.

The province aims to innoculate 1.1 million health-care workers and vulnerable people by the end of March, part of the Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Hillier said Phase 2 will rollout in April.

“We want to end Phase Two, with the bulk of the population, having had the opportunity to get the vaccine by the end of July.”

By the time Phase 3 begins, Hillier expects the rest of Ontarians to start receiving the vaccines at their doctor’s offices or a pharmacies.

Ontario reported a new single-day high of daily infections on Tuesday with 2,553 new cases. Over the past two days the death toll from the virus climbed by 78.