The largest mass immunization effort in Canadian history began Monday in Ontario and Quebec after the country received its first COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend.
The Canadian military is helping a massive effort to distribute 249,000 doses developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. Here’s a look at what the various provinces have said about their launch plans:
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prime Minister Andrew Furey says he expects to receive 1,950 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the St. John’s receiving site this week.
Furey says the province expects another shipment of the vaccine later in the month.
Island of Prince Eduardo
Health officials on Prince Edward Island say they are ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when the first shipment arrives this week.
Heather Morrison, chief health care professional, says the province plans to start administering the Pfizer vaccine to priority groups, including residents and employees of long-term care homes, health workers and adults in indigenous communities.
Morrison says she expects to receive 1,950 doses in the first shipment, and the clinic will have to be kept in storage because the Pfizer vaccine needs to be frozen.
The owner of a tuna export company in the eastern part of PEI has offered two freezers to the provincial government to help the effort to preserve the vaccine.
New Brunswick’s health minister says its shipment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be used to inoculate long-term care residents and employees, staff of COVID-19 rapid response teams, ambulance workers, health workers involved in COVID units, seniors 85 and older and First Nations nurses.
Dorothy Shephard says the vaccination plan will be implemented by the provincial Organization for Emergency Measures.
The first round of vaccination will be carried out on December 19 and 20 at the Miramichi Regional Hospital, which has a huge freezer to store the vaccine.
The chief health officer of Nova Scotia says the province will receive 1,950 doses of Pfizer vaccine for an initial test run starting Tuesday.
Dr. Robert Strang says the first doses will be used to immunize front-line health workers in the Halifax region who are most directly involved in the pandemic response.
Strang says that because the vaccine has specific handling requirements, Pfizer has stipulated that the initial round of immunizations take place near where the doses are stored.
Nova Scotia has one ultra-low-temperature freezer to store the vaccine at the tertiary care complex in the Queen Elizabeth II Science Center.
Strang says the province is getting another freeze through Ottawa that will operate from a central vaccine depot at the public health office in Halifax. The province is also looking to secure freezers from the private sector.
The first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province on Monday.
Residents of long-term care homes and health workers should have first priority.
The following groups in the row are people living in private housing for the elderly, followed by residents of isolated communities and then anyone over 80 years of age.
Ontario received 6,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer over the weekend and began giving them on Monday.
Emerita gen. Rick Hiller, who leads Ontario’s vaccine task force, says half of the shots will be administered this week, and the other half will be deliberately withheld to give the same workers a required second dose 21 days later.
“Considering the kind of information flow from what we know about the supply, which is very little at the moment … we decided it was better to err cautiously,” he says.
An additional 90,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive later this month and will be delivered to 14 hospitals in COVID-19 hot spots.
Hillier said the province also expects to receive between 30,000 and 85,000 doses of the Modern vaccine by the new year, pending its approval by Health Canada.
Attorney General Sylvia Jones of Ontario said the hospitals that receive the first shots have made safety arrangements to make sure the vaccine is safe from theft.
Prime Minister Brian Pallister says about 900 doctors in critical care units will be the first to receive the vaccine after doses begin arriving this week.
As more shipments enter, priority will be given to other health workers, the elderly and indigenous people.
Manitoba hopes to start vaccinating on Wednesday.
The province plans to vaccinate more than 100,000 people by March – about seven percent of Manitoba’s population.
Officials say they have set up a large-scale “supersite” to deliver the vaccine. The first freezer capable of keeping the Pfizer vaccine at low temperatures was delivered and installed, with four others on the way.
The province says the vaccine will become more widely available in more places, similar to a conventional vaccine campaign, such as the annual flu.
Saskatchewan plans to begin immunizing critical health workers against COVID-19 in a pilot project this week.
Prime Minister Scott Moe says the province is expected to receive 1,950 doses of Pfizer vaccine by Tuesday. A pilot vaccination program at Regina General Hospital will give the vaccine to health workers in intensive and emergency care, COVID-19 units and those who work in test and evaluation centers.
The first official stage of Saskatchewan’s vaccination program will be in late December, when the province will receive more doses.
It will target more health workers, employees and residents in long-term care, the elderly over the age of 80 and people in remote areas who are at least 50.
About 202,052 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive within the first quarter of next year, and there will be 10,725 weekly assignments.
Moe says vaccinations for the general population will begin in April.
Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney announced in a video released late Monday and recorded next to a cargo plane at Calgary International Airport that the province’s first 3,900 vaccine doses have arrived.
Kenney said in the video that ICU nurses are lined up to be the first to receive the vaccine, and that he expects the first dose to be administered within the next 24 hours.
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said earlier in the day that the doses will go to health workers and begin in Edmonton and Calgary.
Shandro said an additional 25,000 Pfizer doses will come next week and will also be administered to health workers.
Doses of the Modern Vaccine are expected before the end of the month.
The province says it plans to eventually launch the vaccine from 30 different locations.
British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, says the province will begin its immunization program on Tuesday with some health workers in long-term care homes who will first receive the vaccine.
Areas of the province covered by the Vancouver Coastal and Frasera health authorities are first lining up the Pfizer vaccine, which arrived on Monday.
The vaccine is expected to be available in the rest of the province by next week.
Workers in long-term care facilities are at the top of the list to receive the vaccine.
Henry expects about 400,000 people to be vaccinated by March.
The province said it is developing a system so people can register to receive the vaccine and receive a formal immunization record.
Nunavut’s prime minister says the territory will receive the vaccine made by Moderna in the first quarter of 2021.
Joe Savikataaq says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told him that Nunavut will receive enough doses to vaccinate 75% of the population.
A senior public health official, Dr. Michael Patterson, says Nunavut will prioritize seniors and health workers first for the vaccine.
Savikataaq says his government is still working on its plan to develop the vaccine once it arrives in the territory.
The prime minister of the Northwest Territories says TNV will receive 51,000 doses of the Modern vaccine in the new year.
Caroline Cochrane says that is enough to vaccinate 75 percent of the population aged 18 and over.
The territory is creating a vaccination team made up of nurses and support staff to travel to smaller communities.
Health Minister Julie Green says two special freezers to keep the vaccines on the way from the federal government and will be placed in Yellowknife and Inuvik.
Smaller, portable freezers are also on the way and will be placed in smaller communities.
Yukon says it will be enough of the Modern vaccine in the spring to vaccinate 75% of its residents.
A statement from the Yukon government says the allocation of the territory is a recognition of its large indigenous populations and remote communities.
Prime Minister Sandy Silver says vaccinating is the best thing residents can do to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“Over time, extensive immunization will allow us to revive to life without the limitations of COVID-19.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 15, 2020.