Premier Doug Ford called on the federal government today to lay out its plan for the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.
Ford says the federal plan will inform the work of the new Ministers' COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force being led by General (retired) Rick Hillier.
As part of its initial work, the task force will be guiding the development of an ethical framework, develop a logistical roadmap, and identify the key risks and mitigation strategies for the rollout of the program. Additional members will be announced in the coming days.
With recent reports that COVID-19 vaccines will come later to Canada than other countries, the provincial government says the federal government must put forward a comprehensive plan for a national immunization program, including the ongoing review, procurement, warehousing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to Ontario and the other provinces and territories.
In a press release issued today, the Ontario government said "The COVID-19 vaccines require special handling and storage, including in some cases the need for ultra-cold or freezer units to keep millions of doses at the right temperature. The logistics will have to be well planned for people to get the vaccines in a prompt, equitable fashion. For those reasons, Ontario needs the federal government to share the volume and timing for when the province will receive its allocations."
Additionally, the province is moving five public health regions to new levels with stronger public health measures.
As of Monday at 12:01 a.m., the following health regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels:
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Lambton Public Health; and
- Northwestern Health Unit.
Premier Doug Ford is slated to make an announcement this afternoon alongside the new head of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, retired General Rick Hillier.
The task force will "advise the province's development and implementation of an immunization program, including the ethical, timely and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario," Ford's government says.
Ford and Hillier will be joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
Village Media will carry the 1 p.m. livestream, so stay tuned.