BRAMPTON ― The Ontario government is collaborating with leaders and experts in a wide variety of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, health care and logistics, to develop a plan for the safe and efficient distribution of COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. Partnerships across these sectors are critical as Ontario prepares to handle one of the largest vaccine rollouts in its history.
Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, toured McKesson, a pharmaceutical distribution company. McKesson’s warehouse in Brampton is the type of facility that could be instrumental in the storage and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“This is a massive undertaking and here in Ontario we are fortunate to have the health, industry and logistical expertise to get the job done,” said Premier Ford. “To support our planning, I’ve been on the phone with the Prime Minister, my fellow Premiers, the vaccine manufacturers, distributors, storage experts, and the health care sector to make sure we can roll out this vaccine when ready as quickly and efficiently as possible. I will continue to press the federal government for more information on the status of these vaccines.”
Ontario will be leveraging the expertise and resources from both the public and private sectors, who already play an important role in supporting the storage, distribution, transportation, administration, tracking and monitoring of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, in the province. These partnerships will be essential in supporting the province’s large-scale logistical efforts for Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination program led by General Hillier. Distribution channels will depend on the details provided by the federal government about the requirements for specific vaccines, such as ultra-cold storage, timing of delivery, and priority populations for vaccination.
Ontario will be ready by December 31, 2020 to receive vaccines, with the first doses of vaccines expected to be made available in 2021. The province will receive initial logistical support from vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer. The task force, in conjunction with scientists and ethics professionals, will be advising the government’s prioritization of vaccine delivery sites and populations.
The planning and implementation of the immunization program will build on lessons learned from personal protective equipment logistics, including timely distribution of vaccines and ongoing communication and engagement with stakeholders to make sure all Ontarians are able to be immunized as doses become available. It will also benefit from the province’s previous experience and massive organization in the rapid opening of COVID-19 assessment centres.
“Collaborating with industry experts in health care and logistics will be key to ensuring we are prepared by December 31 for the first phase of rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, when they are available,” said Minister Elliott. “Under the leadership of General Hillier, the province will be ready to launch Ontario’s COVID-19 immunization program.”
“Our government is leveraging the expertise and resources of key industry partners to ensure Ontario is ready for the safe and efficient rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the province,” said Solicitor General Jones. “We are confident these key partners will support the work of our task force, led by General Hillier, to prepare for the next step of Ontario’s recovery and keep Ontarians safe.”
“The safe, secure and successful delivery of COVID-19 vaccines is a vital mission,” said General Hillier. “The logistics supporting the delivery, storage and administration of the vaccine are essential to ensuring the successful rollout of the vaccine and ultimately the health and well-being of Ontarians.”
Through ongoing involvement of key industry partners and appointing a task force with diverse expertise, the Ontario government is ensuring that the province will be prepared to handle the largest vaccine rollout in a generation in a way that is timely, efficient and safe.