National Post (National Edition)
Holiday staffing slows vaccine
The Ontario government has come under fire from critics after COVID-19 immunizations ramped down over the holidays.
The Ministry of Health says hospitals administering the vaccine asked to change the schedule to ensure proper staffing levels on wards and in long-term care homes during the break.
The province said five of its 19 vaccination clinics were open on Sunday, 10 were running Monday and all sites are expected to resume operations on Tuesday.
The most recent provincial figures show more than 11,000 of an expected 90,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot — earmarked primarily for hospitals — have been administered so far.
The pause in vaccinations has stirred outrage among critics.
“Vaccine supplies have been available in Ontario for more than two weeks, yet instead of an urgent mobilization to get the vaccine into the arms of people who need it most, we're seeing the government struggle to figure out how to move this life-saving vaccine out,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said in a statement Monday.
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said Ontario is lagging when it comes to immunizations per capita.
“The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, we can't afford to delay its rollout by nearly a week. With so many doses on hand and so few administered, there's no excuse for the delay,” he said in a statement.
Ontario Hospital Association head Anthony Dale said the vaccination ramp-down was not planned. “Hospitals embrace their responsibilities, but cannot be the only vaccine distribution mechanism,” he wrote in a tweet .