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 .

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