COVID-19 Vaccines & Provincial Rollout
December 14, 2020
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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.
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.
- mRNA vaccines are not live vaccines and cannot cause infection in the host.
- mRNA vaccines cannot alter a person’s DNA.
- mRNA technology has been used in cancer treatment, with tumour mRNA being used to help people’s immune systems recognise and respond to the proteins produced by their specific tumours.
- mRNA vaccines to date, come with logistical challenges for delivery due to vaccine storage and handling requirements needed to keep the vaccine stable.
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 Vaccine||COVID-19 mRNA|
|Date of Authorization in Canada||December 9, 2020|
|Authorized ages for use||16 years of age and older|
|Dose||30mcg of mRNA per 0.3mL (after dilution – see product monograph for choice of diluent and dilution instructions)|
|Schedule||2 doses, a minimum of 19 days apart (recommended interval 21-28 days apart)|
|Route of Administration||Intramuscular (IM)|
|Name of Antigen||Perfusion 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-dilution||6 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 Quantity||Populations to be Vaccinated||Distribution Sites|
|Phase 1||Initial 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 2||Increased vaccine stock will be available||Expanded 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 adults||Expanded vaccination sites|
|Phase 3||Vaccine available for every Ontarian who wants to be immunized||All eligible Ontarians||Widely 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.
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