Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine supply problems delaying vaccination rollout in Windsor-Essex

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Windsor-Essex will be delayed due to supply issues, health officials say. The setback comes as coronavirus hospitalizations soar, and the region's death toll rises. 

Health unit says some Moderna vaccinations at retirement homes also delayed

A nurse prepares doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic for care home workers at St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto, on Dec. 22, 2020. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Windsor-Essex will be delayed due to supply issues, health officials say.

The setback comes as coronavirus hospitalizations soar, and the region's death toll rises. 

Windsor Regional Hospital stopped giving out first doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech shot on Monday, saying it had no choice given the "recent and sudden announcements" on shipments.

The government has announced that vaccine will be in shorter supply in the coming weeks due to production delays.

Provincial officials said the supply will be reduced by 80 per cent the week of Jan. 25, 55 per cent the week of Feb. 1 and 45 per cent the week of Feb. 8.

Premier Doug Ford expressed frustration with the delays on Tuesday, saying it was "troubling" and "a massive concern."

The hospital says the development calls into question previous vaccine commitments, and officials are awaiting further information from the Ministry of Health on what to expect.

Right now, however, the hospital has vaccinated more than 8,000 people from priority groups, representing at least 90 per cent of those who are currently eligible and want the shot.

But the hospital had to stop giving first doses a week earlier than expected, and now may have to delay some second doses as well.

"We will continue to try to provide second doses 21 days following the first doses however, depending on future shipments, we may have to delay the second dose for some as recommended by The National Advisory Committee on Immunization," WRH CEO David Musyj said in a memo the hospital shared with CBC News.

Follow-up vaccination visits delayed

The tight supply is also affecting the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's vaccine rollout.

Theresa Marentette, CEO and chief nursing officer, said the unit has had to reschedule second visits to some retirement homes to administer first doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Those visits are necessary since COVID-19 cases within the homes meant not everyone was able to receive their shot on the initial visit.

"Due to outbreaks, we've had to kind of stagger the time when we can give people their vaccine based on their recovery from COVID," she said. 

The first wave of vaccinations is complete at long-term care homes in the region, and there is one remaining retirement home out of more than 40 facilities in the region that is yet to be vaccinated.

The health unit expects some doses will be provided at that home on Thursday.

Marentette said the health unit has held back enough vaccine to give the required second doses of the vaccine on time.

The second doses are expected to be rolled out starting on Jan. 28. 

116 new cases, six deaths

There were 116 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the health unit in Windsor-Essex on Wednesday, along with six additional deaths.

There are 2,419 active cases of COVID-19 in the region.

Of the new cases announced Wednesday, nine are connected to outbreaks, 13 are close contacts of confirmed cases, one was community acquired, while 93 remain under investigation.

Overall in the pandemic, 277 people in Windsor-Essex have lost their lives to COVID-19.

There are currently 112 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, 18 of them in intensive care.

Five hospital outbreaks active

There are currently five active outbreaks at Windsor hospitals. There are four outbreaks active at Windsor Regional Hospital, two at the Ouellette campus and two at the Met Campus. There is also an outbreak at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

Two community settings, both Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario locations, are in outbreak.

Outbreaks are active at 26 workplaces:

  • Six in Leamington's agricultural sector.
  • Five in Kingsville's agricultural sector.
  • Three in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
  • One in Leamington's health care and social assistance sector.
  • One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector.
  • One in Kingsville's health care and social assistance sector.
  • One in Windsor's food and beverage service sector.
  • Two in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
  • One in a personal service setting in LaSalle.
  • Two in public administration settings in Windsor.
  • One in a retail setting in Essex.
  • One in Essex's finance and insurance sector.
  • One in a transportation and warehousing setting in Windsor

There are 19 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:

  • Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with one staff case.
  • Regency Park in Windsor with six resident cases and five staff cases.
  • Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case.
  • Harrow Woods Retirement Home, with five resident cases and two staff cases.
  • Seasons Retirement Home in Amherstburg, with three staff cases.
  • Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 31 resident cases and six staff cases.
  • Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with two staff cases.
  • Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 36 resident cases and six staff cases.
  • Leamington Mennonite Home with seven staff cases. 
  • Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 60 resident and 16 staff cases. 
  • Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 13 resident cases and eight staff cases. 
  • Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 45 resident cases and 26 staff cases. 
  • Sun Parlor Home in Leamington with two resident cases and 11 staff cases.
  • Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 115 resident cases and 62 staff cases.
  • The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 28 resident cases and 11 staff cases.
  • Extendicare Tecumseh, with 90 resident cases and 57 staff cases.
  • Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 94 resident and 61 staff cases.
  • The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 162 resident cases and 129 staff cases.
  • Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 60 resident cases and 29 staff cases.

Cases in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia

Ten new cases were reported in Lambton County on Wednesday. There have been 1,685 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. 

There were 11 new cases in Chatham-Kent, bringing its total to 1,039.

With files from CBC Toronto