Province expands use of Moderna vaccine through Hamilton pharmacies as shipments ramp-up

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With more than 3-million vaccines expected to land in Ontario by the end of May, the Province is expanding its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

The Ontario government announced Wednesday (May 5) that it’s expanding the use of the Moderna vaccine to the pharmacy channel this week.

Up to 60 pharmacies will participate, with locations in each of Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex, and York public health regions' hot spot areas for individuals aged 18 and over.

Further expansion of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy channel will continue through May, according to the Province.

Participating pharmacies will be identified on the government website: covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.

Appointments are booked through the participating pharmacies.

Ontario says it’s on track to administer first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 65 per cent of adults by the end of May.

"With a stable and reliable of supply of vaccines expected this month, our government is further accelerating our vaccine rollout with a focus on individuals and settings most at risk," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Vaccines remain our best defence against COVID-19, and I strongly encourage all Ontarians to schedule their appointment as soon as it's their turn to help protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities."

Hamilton’s health-care partners say approximately 199,742 residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine to date.

That means 36.5 per cent of the eligible population has been given at least one dose.

According to government data, more than 5.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario.

Over 92 per cent of residents aged 80-and-over and 90 per cent of residents aged 75 to 79 have received at least one dose.

More than 43 per cent of the provincial population aged 18 and over have received at least one dose and over 381,000 Ontarians are fully immunized, including 95 per cent of long-term care residents.

Meanwhile, the provincial government announced that its launching mobile vaccine units for small to medium-sized businesses in hot spot communities. These mobile units will begin offering vaccinations in Toronto, York and Peel at select businesses that have employees who cannot work from home and have a history or risk of outbreaks.

Each public health unit will determine the small to medium-sized businesses where mobile units will be deployed.

"The new mobile units for at-risk businesses are another step in our efforts to get more people in priority areas vaccinated as conveniently and as quickly as possible," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "These mobile units are designed to be rapidly deployed to a diversity of small to medium-sized workplaces and will help strengthen our capacity to reach areas where the need is greatest."

Starting May 7, an initial rollout of up to five mobile units is planned with a possible expansion of up to 15 units once the program is fully established.

Each mobile unit will be equipped with the necessary staff, vaccines and resources to immunize all employees at the selected workplaces, according to the provincial government.

In addition to the mobile units, employer-led workplace vaccination clinics organized by large companies such as Maple Lodge Farms, Maple Leaf Foods, and Amazon Canada in Peel Region have been completed or are underway.

In partnership with Peel Public Health, Loblaw Companies, Walmart Canada, HelloFresh, Magna, Air Canada, and Purolator Inc. are also setting up workplace vaccination clinics this month for workers who cannot work from home.

A workplace vaccination clinic will also be operationalized at the Ontario Food Terminal, the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada, starting May 10.

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