Region of Waterloo Public Health is launching its mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic program on Tuesday.
Residents of three long-term care homes in the region will be the first to receive the vaccine.
The program was developed by the health department and several community partners.
The head of the local COVID-19 Immunization Distribution Task Force said the clinics are a vital step to ensuring more residents in our community receive the vaccine.
“Mobile clinics will be able to reach long-term care homes quickly and safely to ensure the health and wellness of residents and staff.” explained Shirley Hilton, Deputy Chief, Waterloo Regional Police.
The task force pointed out on Monday, due to short supply, vaccinations have been taking place using a just-in-time inventory.
As of Sunday, over 6,800 healthcare workers had already received the shot.
It's not anticipated the vaccine will be available to the general public (Phase 3) until the summer.
It was previously announced that second doses of the Pfizer vaccine would start to be administered to health care workers who got their first shot in December.
However, that will not apply to some who work in long-term care and retirement homes experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak.
A public health spokesperson confirmed that vaccinations may be paused until an outbreak has stabilized, and that the situation is assessed on a daily basis to determine when they can resume.
They stated this is in line with recommendations from the The National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
"The NACI recommends to wait until all symptoms of COVID-19 illness are completely resolved before vaccinating with COVID-19 vaccine, as well as ensuring that the individual is no longer considered infectious based on current criteria," said Julie Kalbfleisch, Manager of Information and Communications with Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, in an e-mail statement. "This is a precautionary measure and in light of the need to be able to monitor for COVID-19 vaccine side effects without potential confusion with symptoms of COVID-19 or other co-existing illnesses."
Kalbfleisch said those who have their second shot put on temporary hiatus will not need to 'start over', meaning they will not need to receive a first dose again.
With files from Erin Anderson