COVID-19 Vaccines & Provincial Rollout

Advisory Alert

December 14, 2020

*Cette information est seulement disponible en anglais.

To: Local Health System Partners

On December 9, 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was approved by Health Canada with first shipments arriving in Canada on December 13. The Moderna/NIAID vaccine is not yet Health Canada approved as of December 13, 2020. Both vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) platforms. This Advisory Alert provides basic information about these COVID-19 vaccines as well as on the provincial vaccine rollout.

mRNA Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA platforms contain modified nucleotides that code for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. A lipid nanoparticle formulation delivers the mRNA into the recipient’s cells. Once inside a cell, the mRNA provides the instructions that allows the cell to manufacture the spike protein. Once manufactured, the spike protein exits the cell, and becomes anchored onto the cell’s surface. The immune system is activated to recognize the spike protein as foreign and initiates an immune response. The mRNA and the spike protein are then cleared by the immune system.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine At-A-Glance

Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for use in Canada.

Produce Brand Name (Manufacturer)Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Type of VaccineCOVID-19 mRNA
Date of Authorization in CanadaDecember 9, 2020
Authorized ages for use16 years of age and older
Dose30mcg of mRNA per 0.3mL (after dilution – see product monograph for choice of diluent and dilution instructions)
Schedule2 doses, a minimum of 19 days apart (recommended interval 21-28 days apart)
Route of AdministrationIntramuscular (IM)
Name of AntigenPerfusion spike protein
Adjuvant (if present)None
Primary storage requirements -80˚C to -60˚C and protected from light
Formats available Multi-dose vial (5 doses), preservative-free
Usage limit post-dilution6 hours from the time of dilution at 2˚C to 25˚C

For more specific information on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, please refer to the product monograph.

Rollout of the COVID-19 Vaccine in Ontario

The Province of Ontario has announced that the vaccine will rollout in three phases. The first phase is expected to last from now until the end of March 2021. During this time, the vaccine will be provided to those in the identified priority groups. As we enter the later phases of rollout, the vaccine will be available to all those who are interested in receiving it. Please refer to the table below for more information on each phase.

 Vaccine QuantityPopulations to be VaccinatedDistribution Sites
Phase 1Initial doses will vaccinate over 2500 people

In the coming weeks 90,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected

An estimated total for over 2 million doses is expected in this phase
Residents, essential caregivers, and staff of congregate care settings for seniors

Health care workers

Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations

Adult recipients of chronic home health care
To start, two pilot sites followed by selected hospital sites in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones, expanding to approximately 21 hospitals across the province

LTC homes and retirements homes as soon as they are feasible
Phase 2Increased vaccine stock will be availableExpanded to additional health care workers, long-term care homes, retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions and First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit adultsExpanded vaccination sites
Phase 3Vaccine available for every Ontarian who wants to be immunizedAll eligible OntariansWidely available across Ontario

At the local level, Public Health Sudbury and Districts has partnered with key stakeholders in the community to plan for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. Once it becomes available in Northern Ontario, we will be prepared to implement the largest immunization program we’ve ever encountered. In the meantime, our lines of communication remain open and our partnerships are strengthening. Our upcoming COVID vaccine bulletin will be regularly updated with information as we know more.

Stay informed by visiting Health Canada, the Government of Ontario, and Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ COVID-19 information.


Original Signed By

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

NOTE: All Advisory Alerts are found on our website.

This item was last modified on December 14, 2020