MONTREAL — Public health officials in Ontario and Quebec plan to administer the first COVID-19 vaccines today.

Residents of two long-term care homes in Quebec will be the first to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

Francine Dupuis of the Montreal regional health agency says health-care workers have been ready to administer the doses at Maimonides Geriatric Centre since Friday.

Dupuis says the agency expects to receive 1,950 initial doses, which will first go to residents, to Maimonides staff and then to health-care workers in other long-term care homes.

In Quebec City, residents of the Saint-Antoine long-term care home will receive the vaccine first, followed by health-care workers at that facility.

Officials say they hope the vaccine will help protect the most vulnerable people in the province while bringing the pandemic under control.

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In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford’s office says a health-care worker will receive the first dose at a hospital in Toronto.

The first shots will be administered at the University Health Network.

The province was to receive 6,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this weekend, and plans to give them to approximately 2,500 health-care workers in the first phase of its immunization plan.

Half the shots will be administered this week and the other half will be intentionally held back to give the same workers a required second dose 21 days later.

Ford has said health-care workers, long-term care residents, and their caregivers will be among the first to receive the vaccine.

On Sunday night, Prime Minister Justine Trudeau announced on Twitter that some of the country’s initial 30,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have touched down in Canada, sharing a photo of a plane being unloaded. 

“This is good news,″ he said. “But our fight against COVID-19 is not over. Now more than ever, let’s keep up our vigilance.”

The plane touched down at Mirabel International Airport in Montreal, the local airport authority said, adding that it wouldn’t share any further details.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are bound for 14 distribution sites across the country, across all 10 provinces, and more doses are expected to cross the border on Monday.

Quebec reported 1,994 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, as well as 33 additional deaths linked to the virus — bringing its total to 163,915 infections and 7,508 deaths since the pandemic began.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2020.


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