Canadian Manufacturing

First Pfizer vaccine shots to be given right at delivery sites, not LTC homes

Health Canada still analyzing Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in the meantime

December 8, 2020  The Canadian Press

Canada’s chief public health officer says the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are likely to be given only to people who can physically be at one of the 14 delivery sites identified by provincial governments for the first arrivals of the vaccine.

Dr. Theresa Tam said at a briefing that it is a “rapidly evolving situation” but acknowledged that this will make it difficult to get long-term care residents vaccinated first.

“It’s true you cannot move residents very easily from a long-term care centre to a vaccine site,” she said. “That’s just the reality.”

It is not clear how this jibes with some provincial plans, including in Quebec, where the health minister said on Dec. 7 the government intends to ship its first vaccine doses to two long-term care homes.

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A Pfizer spokeswoman told The Canadian Press that the company is asking for the delivery limitation.

“For the initial stages of vaccination, I can confirm that we are asking for vaccines to be administered only at the first vaccination points,” said Christina Antoniou.

Health Canada is in the midst of its final analysis of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and Dr. Howard Njoo, the deputy chief public health officer, said he is very hopeful a positive decision is coming soon. But he said Health Canada’s regulatory team is making that decision on its own, independent of any outside influence.

There are two sites each in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, and one in each of the other six provinces. Eventually the plan is to have 205 sites in the provinces.

Canada’s doses of Pfizer’s vaccine are to come from lots produced at the company’s manufacturing plant in Belgium.