PEI

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine could arrive on P.E.I. next week, Morrison says

Provided Health Canada gives regulatory approval, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says P.E.I. is expecting to get its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine next week.

Some Islanders could be vaccinated by end of 2020

'By the end of December… we could have close to 2,000 Islanders vaccinated,' says P.E.I. Premier Dennis King. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Provided Health Canada gives regulatory approval, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says P.E.I. is expecting to get its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine next week.

At her regular weekly briefing, Morrison said if approved, P.E.I. will receive the first 1,950 doses of the vaccine. Because they are given in two doses 21 days apart, another shipment of the same amount of doses will arrive later.

People are expected to be protected seven days after the second dose, Health PEI said.

Also subject to approval, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will ship to the Island a couple weeks after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Morrison said.

"By the end of December… we could have close to 2,000 Islanders vaccinated," Premier Dennis King said Tuesday morning. "That's of course with all the approval processes being finalized."

Doses will continue to be shipped after that, the province said.

The news comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday morning that several hundred thousand doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be available in Canada before the end of the year.

'The Pfizer product, it must be administered where the vaccine was delivered. In other words the vaccine cannot be moved from the location where it was dropped off,' said Dr. Heather Morrison. (Government of PEI)

Initial shipments will be given to Islanders based on the recommendation of the national advisory committee on immunization. 

In no particular order the priority groups are:

  • Residents and staff in congregate living settings that provide care for seniors (long-term and community care facilities).

  • Adults 70 and older, beginning with adults 80 and older.

  • Health-care workers, including those that work in health-care settings and personal support workers.

  • Adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences.

Storing, distributing vaccines

Morrison said the health system on P.E.I. is ready to receive and distribute the vaccines, but did mention one complicating factor.

The freezers needed for storing the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have arrived, but because of the storage requirements for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Morrison said, distributing it is a little more difficult.

Residents and workers in long-term and community care facilities are among the four priority groups for a vaccine. (BlurryMe/Shutterstock)

"The Pfizer product, it must be administered where the vaccine was delivered. In other words the vaccine cannot be moved from the location where it was dropped off."

The Moderna vaccine is more easily moved around, she said.

Morrison said logistics and planning experts with the military are helping with plans to distribute the vaccine.

Herd immunity

Morrison said herd immunity won't be achieved until at least 75 per cent of the Island's population gets vaccinated.

That's why, she said, the province is trying to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible.

It will be an "exciting day," Morrison said, when first shipment gets here.

Reminder about symptoms

The symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
  • Possible loss of taste and/or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • New or worsening fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.

More from CBC P.E.I.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said P.E.I.'s first 1,950 doses of the vaccine would be enough to vaccinate almost 1,000 people. In fact; they will go to 1,950 people and a second shipment will come for the required second dose 21 days later.
    Dec 11, 2020 4:08 PM AT

With files from Island Morning

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