Headline News By Laura Glowacki 267 Views

City of Ottawa strikes COVID-19 vaccine task force

The City of Ottawa is assembling a COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force to plan how residents will get timely access to any future vaccine against the coronavirus.

In a memo on Monday to city council, emergency services general manager Anthony Di Monte said the new task force will be led by his department and will include Ottawa Public Health. The city's Emergency Operations Centre will also be involved in coordination, said Di Monte.

"This Task Force will develop a comprehensive plan for vaccine distribution in Ottawa, working with key stakeholders to develop strategies for the orderly and coordinated distribution of possible vaccines," wrote Di Monte in the memo.

Biotechnology company Moderna announced Monday its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be 94.5 per cent effective, according to preliminary data from the company's still-ongoing study. The news followed similar promising results from its rival Pfizer Inc. last week.

Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott said a team in her department is working out a distribution plan on a provincial level and ethicists are also involved to ensure the vaccine is distributed "fairly and equitably."

Ottawa will likely distribute any future COVID-19 vaccine by appointment at various hubs across the city, similar to how Ottawa Public Health inoculates against the seasonal flu, city officials said last week. 

While planning work is underway, Di Monte asked residents to continue to follow public health guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19. It's still not known exactly when a vaccine will be available in Canada, but health officials are optimistic a shot could be available by the first quarter of 2021.