Ont.'s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan could impact Waterloo Region's supply
KITCHENER -- Ontario's revised COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan is impacting supply in Waterloo Region.
The updated plan, which was announced on Wednesday, focuses on hot spots in the GTA. Many local pharmacies also reported a shortage of AstraZeneca doses and some have already run out of vaccine.
Neil Malhotra owns a pharmacy in Kitchener and said they'll be administering doses of vaccine soon.
"We received our approval actually late last week," he said.
But, Malhotra doesn't know yet which vaccine his pharmacy will receive.
"At this point, we're not sure what vaccine we are going to be getting," he said.
Last week, the province piloted Pfizer vaccines at pharmacy locations in Toronto and Peel. This week, 60 more pharmacies in five other regions will start administering Moderna.
Provincial officials said other pharmacies will be able to offer vaccines soon.
Public health clinics in Waterloo Region will also administer fewer doses in the next couple of weeks.
"What we're going to see is about half of the Pfizer supply being directed to the hot spots of Toronto and Peel and they're trying to just flood those very high-risk regions," said Dr. Kelly Grindrod, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo's School of Pharmacy.
Grindrod added that the shortage is temporary and distribution will return to normal levels soon.
"The second couple of weeks in May, we'll actually see a pretty significant interest," she said.
Malhotra said his team doesn't care what vaccine they receive.
"I think the biggest thing is consistency," he said. "So, I look forward to having a vaccine that will have a good supply from the ministry."
More than 211,000 Waterloo Region residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine to date, and around 16,500 have received two doses and are considered fully vaccinated.
REGIONAL TASK FORCE ANTICIPATES CONSISTENT VACCINESUPPLY
At a Wednesday night Region of Waterloo Board of Health meeting, the area's COVID-19 vaccine task force gave an update that mentioned a consistent supply is expected throughout May and June.
The task force added that the infrastructure is in place to carry out thousands of vaccinations seven days a week if the supply can keep up.
Pfizer vaccines are expected to remain consistent through the next two months, according to the region.
A shipment of Moderna is supposed to arrive this Monday, but after that, it's unclear when the next one will come.
The region says that in order to cope with the unequal supply, they are converting some Moderna clinics into Pfizer clinics.
At the meeting, the task force was asked if the supply will be enough to cover the large amount of second doses that will be needed starting in June.
"Based on the projections of supply for Pfizer, we expect that we should be able to provide the second dose on time," said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Waterloo. "Even though we don't have a line of sight on Moderna, we do expect to have sufficient supply in that June, July timeframe."
With reporting from CTV Kitchener's Jeff Pickel