Moderna vaccine key to immunizing Ontario long-term care residents: Hillier

TORONTO — The head of Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force says Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine will be key to immunizing the province’s long-term care residents.

Retired. Gen. Rick Hillier says the vaccine, which still requires Health Canada approval, can be moved more easily than the one manufactured by Pfizer, which requires deep cold storage.

Hillier says because of those limits, and the dangers of transporting nursing home residents during the pandemic, the Moderna vaccine will be used on long-term care residents.

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He says the Pfizer vaccine, which the province rolled out Monday in Toronto, will be given to front-line workers and should help cut the risk that they will bring the virus into homes.

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Ontario has said it expects to receive between 30,000 and 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine after it is approved by the federal regulator.

Premier Doug Ford says the province’s vaccination program will continue this week using the first doses received over the weekend.

Ontario reported a new single day record of 2,275 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 new deaths on Tuesday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 711 cases were in Toronto, 586 in Peel Region, 185 in Windsor-Essex, and 154 in York Region.

In the province’s long-term care homes, 695 residents currently have COVID-19 and one new death has been reported today.

The province said 134 of its 626 long-term care homes were experiencing an outbreak.

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It also reported 319 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 270 among students.

Those brought the number of schools with a reported case to 913 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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