By Mike Williscraft
With Niagara Region being the only one left in Grey-Lockdown mode of 28 regions in Ontario to see an upgrade in the COVID response framework this week, many have turned their attention to the rollout of long-anticipated vaccines.
The good news on that front, says Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, is long-term care homes in Niagara have been covered off.
“Niagara’s Long-Term-Care homes all received their first rounds of vaccinations in January, while many across the province did not wrap up their first rounds until the middle of February. In fact, Niagara’s LTC homes received their vaccinations before 14 other public health units across the province even received vaccines,” noted Oosterhoff.
“The next phase of vaccination will include all seniors over the age of 80.”
To get there, though, Niagara is in need of replenished vaccine supplies after some doses were rerouted to areas deemed more in need based on input from medical officials.
“Ultimately, though, vaccine distribution is not a political decision, but one that is based on the risk analysis and recommendations of the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccination task force, and their ethical framework,” s aid Oosterhoff.
Vaccine shipments from Pfizer were reduced after they retooled to be able to expand production. Last week, corporate executives said the plan to meet all delivery deadlines and hope to exceed them if possible.
Pfizer is set to deliver 2.8 million more shots between April and June than originally planned with another 6.2 million shots coming between July and August.
“With the promise of millions of vaccines coming through in March, Ontario has ramped up capacity and will be in a good place to distribute these vaccines in a rapid and timely fashion,” note Oosterhoff.