Phase 2 of city's vaccine rollout likely to begin closer to April: Etches

The nation's capital will likely not finish its first phase of COVID-19 immunization until close to April 2021, according to the city's medical officer of health.

Officials in Ottawa, western Quebec provide updates on vaccinations so far

Dr. Vera Etches said administering second doses to people who qualify for vaccines during Phase 1 will likely take a couple of weeks. (CBC)

The nation's capital will likely not finish its first phase of COVID-19 immunization until close to April 2021, according to the city's medical officer of health.

Residents in the city's long-term care homes have now received their first dose of the vaccine, and administering the second dose will likely take a couple of weeks, Dr. Vera Etches said Friday.

So far, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has received 22,245 vaccine doses, with 18,560 doses being administered — including more than 4,000 in care homes by the health authority's mobile vaccination teams.

"[We're] really pleased that the homes and the families that support residents all worked together with The Ottawa Hospital [to] get the vaccine out," Etches said. 

"Most homes had close to 90 per cent of residents being immunized."

Rollout 'subject to change'

The first phase of the vaccine rollout also involves inoculating health-care workers, Indigenous people and what OPH describes "adult recipients of chronic home health care." 

Only after that's done will other older adults — beginning with those 80 or older, and then decreasing in five-year increments — be vaccinated in Phase 2.

Phase 2 also includes people in high-risk settings with lots of people, like those living in shelters and community housing, along with additional front-line essential workers, teachers and other educational staff.

Workers in the food processing industry, people with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers are also part of this next phase.

In a statement, OPH said it's working with the city to ensure Ottawa residents who want the COVID-19 vaccine can access it "as quickly and efficiently as possible." 

"However, these plans are subject to change, and this reflects the current planning and situation at this time," the statement said.

"The total amount of vaccine that will be distributed to the City of Ottawa and precise delivery dates are not yet known."

More than 4,000 doses administered in the Outaouais 

Health officials in western Quebec also announced Friday that another 610 doses of the Moderna vaccine had arrived in the region. 

So far, 4,387 doses have been administered, including to 3,435 health-care workers and 853 residents of long-term care centres, also known as CHSLDs.

According to officials, vaccination teams will now turn their attention to CHSLDs and seniors' residences in Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and the Pontiac. 

The Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais (CISSSO) said teams will also travel to Kitigan Zibi, a First Nations community near Maniwaki, Que., to begin vaccinations. 

"We are therefore ahead of schedule in the vaccination plan and we are able to begin the vaccination in the seniors' residences. This is excellent news that will allow us to protect these vulnerable people more quickly than expected," the health authority said in a statement.

"[CISSSO] continues its efforts to vaccinate the maximum number of people while respecting the priority groups."

With files from Joanne Chianello

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