The COVID-19 vaccine has landed in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 975 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were delivered Tuesday with the first vaccinations set to start Wednesday.
"Yes, for those people who live in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, we finally have received our first vaccines," said WDGPH Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Nicola Mercer.
Dr. Mercer said while the initial number of doses to arrive is below 1-thousand, she is expecting twice that for each of the following two weeks meaning there is no reason why they can't take every last dose they have and start sticking them into arms.
"If your vaccine supply is consistent you can use all your doses," said Dr. Mercer. "We're planning on giving all 975 doses as well as starting into our next shipment which will be around 19-hundred doses."
Dr. Mercer said a regular and growing supply means as people come due for their second dose of the vaccine those doses should be readily available.
"We actually have the capacity here in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph to store almost 100-thousand doses of Pfizer right now and starting early next week, 200-thousand doses."
Meantime, as for timing, Dr. Mercer said it's possible, if the government softens the rules around moving the Pfizer vaccine, to get through our Phase 1 top priority which is to vaccinate every long-term care worker and resident within the next week or two.
"Up until this point we haven't been able to move it which means everybody has to come to us so that is a much slower process," said Dr. Mercer. "And we also can't give it to residents in long-term care homes if they have to come to us."
But Dr. Mercer said she does expect those rules to change very soon.
Despite that possible timeline for long-term care homes in the region, it is still expected to be quite some time before the Average Joe can walk into a drug store and get vaccinated, even after the long-term care homes are dealt with Dr. Mercer said the vaccine still needs to be prioritized where we most need it.
"Once our vaccine supply increases and we have a lot more vaccine, and believe me, I strongly believe that we will be swimming in vaccine by the Fall because Canada has ordered a lot of vaccine," said Dr. Mercer.
"So once we have large amounts of vaccine then the retail model, in our local pharmacies, is certainly viable, as well as we have to remember that we will have primary care offices that will also be able to deliver the vaccine."
Dr. Mercer said there is still some vaccine hesitancy to contend with, even on the front-line among hospital and long-term care staff.
"For those of you or, anybody who's listening, please, when it is your turn, get this COVID vaccine," asked Dr. Mercer. "That's the one way that we're going to be able to get back to normal and take off our masks is if we all get immunized."