FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2021
LONDON, ON – With the federal government announcement that there would be a delay in the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to Canada, and the limited local vaccine stock that remains, the difficult decision has been made to cease operations at the Western Fair District Agriplex for at least two weeks, as of the end of day, Friday, January 22nd. The Middlesex-London Health Unit will continue to complete the vaccination of eligible long-term care home residents with remaining stock by the end of the week. Given the limited supply, and in keeping with direction from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, effective immediately, all second doses of vaccine for those who have received their first dose will be rescheduled to 42 days from the date they received their initial dose.
Since December 23rd, 2020, 9,516 doses of vaccine have been administered at the Western Fair Agriplex; the Middlesex-London Health Unit has also distributed 1,497 doses of the vaccine in long-term care since January 11th. Selected hospital staff, as well as residents and health-care workers in local long-term care and some high-risk retirement homes, have been the first groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since it arrived in late December. Since initial groups received their first doses of vaccine, guidance from the Province’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, which directs the allocation and eligibility criteria of the vaccine, has been adapted to deliver the vaccine to those who are at greatest risk from COVID-19.
Given the limited number of doses remaining in the region and direction from the provincial government, the only remaining groups eligible to receive a first dose of the vaccine are longterm care home residents. All eligible long-term care residents in London and Middlesex County will have received their initial dose by the end of this week. Efforts will be made to administer the second dose of vaccine to long-term care home staff and residents within 21 to 27 days of their first dose, should vaccine stock be available. If supply constraints continue, second doses for this group may also have to be scheduled up to 42 days after their initial dose.
“The closing of the Agriplex due to vaccine supply shortages is disappointing, but temporary. We continue to advocate to the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force for adequate supplies and we recognize that we are at the very early stages of the vaccination program in this community”, said Neil Johnson, Chief Operating Officer of London Health Sciences Centre.”
“Since the date and amount of the next shipment of vaccine is unknown at this time, eligibility criteria must be adjusted and second doses of vaccine rescheduled in order to ensure those who are most vulnerable continue to get vaccinated,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “While the delivery date for the next local shipment of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine still remains unclear, our goal remains to vaccinate all long-term care home residents by the end of this week.”
The Middlesex-London Health Unit, Southwestern Public Health and Huron Perth Public Health, will provide regular updates on the eligibility criteria for recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine in their respective regions. Vaccination eligibility will be reviewed weekly by the Vaccine Prioritization Advisory Committee, based on the regional vaccine supply and Provincial direction. Eligibility criteria and prioritization schedules will be communicated as the latest information becomes available. Visit https://www.healthunit.com/covid-19-vaccine for the latest COVID-19 vaccine information.
Tori Laird, Communications Consultant, London Health Sciences Centre, 519-685-8500 extension 77127 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit, 519-617-0570