MEMO FROM: Anthony Di Monte, General Manager, Emergency and Protective Services
DATE: Thursday, December 10, 2020
Earlier today, the Premier of Ontario announced that The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) will receive and administer a very limited amount of the Pfizer vaccine next week. This marks the beginning of a truly epic vaccination effort in our community. We are prepared and we are ready.
To meet the challenges of this vaccination effort, the City-led Task Force is taking a one City, one Ottawa approach. The Task Force includes multiple City services, such as: the Ottawa Paramedic Service, Security and Emergency Management, Ottawa Fire Services, Facilities, IT Services, Community and Social Services/Human Needs Task Force, Procurement, Public Information and Media Relations, HR, Finance, and partners at Ottawa Public Health and TOH. Additional representatives may be added as necessary.
Per Provincial direction, this initial supply of vaccine will be offered to health care workers providing care in long-term care facilities (LTCs). Initial supply will not be enough for all workers in LTCs and Ottawa Public Health is advising TOH on prioritization with the goal of reducing the risk to vulnerable populations living in LTCs who are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
For now, the vaccine must be administered at TOH given the Pfizer vaccine is not currently authorized to be moved. Vaccination of residents living in LTCs is expected to take place directly at those facilities once this authorization is received and/or as other vaccines are approved by the federal government. Consequently, among the first projects of the municipal Task Force has been to start planning to eventually deploy mobile strike teams to sites like LTCs with onsite technology.
Work is also underway to establish a multi-partner working group to create an integrated labour pool of clinical and non-clinical staff to avoid duplication of effort. The Task Force is also identifying additional sites for potential vaccine and equipment storage that will meet specific cold storage and security requirements. Advanced planning is also in progress for community clinics to ensure readiness for when additional doses of vaccine are available in 2021.
As further details emerge, please be assured that the City’s Task Force is ready to leverage any municipal resources necessary to ensure that as vaccines arrive in Ottawa they are stored, transported and given to residents in a deliberate and orderly fashion in accordance with direction from the Province and in constant collaboration with Ottawa Public Health and acute care partners.
It is important to remember that today’s announcement is only the very first step. Under the phased approach directed by the Province, the COVID-19 vaccine will not be available to the general public for some time. In the meantime, COVID-19 continues to circulate in our City. It is imperative that all residents continue to adhere to local public health guidelines to limit the number of infections in our community.