TORONTO — COVID-19 – “On behalf of our province, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and its members,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We are grateful for your work, expertise and contribution to the success of our province’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the largest in Ontario’s history. Your leadership has been instrumental in spearheading our collective vaccination efforts, and you leave the province well-positioned for the future. I have every confidence in the Chief Medical Officer of Health and our officials as we continue to make every effort to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
With over 75 per cent of eligible Ontarians fully vaccinated, Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones are applauding the work and contributions of the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force as its mandate comes to a close on August 31. Working with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local public health units, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Solicitor General will continue to administer the province’s vaccine program, including ongoing implementation of Ontario’s last mile strategy. The province will monitor COVID-19 epidemiology and vaccination rates to adapt and evolve as needed.
The task force was created in November 2020 to advise on the development of Ontario’s immunization program, including the ethical, timely and effective distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Solicitor General. With the members’ expertise in operations and logistics, federal-provincial relations, health and clinical domains, public health and immunization, ethics, and information technology and data, the task force helped ensure Ontarians could be immunized as quickly and safely as possible once vaccine supply became available. The final meeting of the task force will take place on August 30..
Andrea Horwath says, ““I wish to thank Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force for its hard work these last several months getting shots into as many arms as possible to protect the people of this province. While a great many people have done their part and rolled up their sleeves, it’s extremely concerning that Doug Ford seems to think his job is done and is just crossing his fingers and hoping for the best as we face a fourth wave. We need to increase vaccine uptake, and we can do that by breaking down barriers, creating vaccine certificates, and mandating vaccinations for health care and education workers.”
To date, the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force’s achievements include:
- Developing guiding principles and prioritization to distribute initial doses to the most vulnerable as well as an ethical framework for subsequent vaccine distribution;
- Facilitating the administration of a first dose to over 80 per cent of eligible Ontarians aged 12+ and full vaccination of over 75 per cent of eligible Ontarians;
- Successfully operationalizing first and second doses across northern remote Indigenous communities, long-term care homes and senior homes;
- Working with Public Health Units to identify communities of greatest need and making it easier and more convenient for individuals to get vaccinated through multiple targeted strategies, including community-based and employer-led clinics, mobile clinics such as the GO-VAXX buses and deploying health and human resources to support these delivery channels;
- Providing the technical and logistical expertise to ensure vaccines were stored and transported securely to communities across the province and that vaccine distribution processes were seamless and effective.
“Our government is grateful for the contributions of the Ontario Vaccine Distribution Task Force and its work to help Ontarians protect themselves and their communities,” said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. “The knowledge, expertise and experience of the taskforce members placed our province in a leading position as we continue to provide seamless access to COVID-19 vaccines through Ontario’s last mile strategy.”
“The collective knowledge and advice of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force has enabled Ontario to be a leading jurisdiction in first and second doses administered,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We are incredibly thankful for their expertise which has put the province on solid footing as we continue our last mile strategy to offer the vaccine to all eligible Ontarians.”