GUELPH – It appears there is finally some light at the end of the long tunnel that has been the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is the first public health unit in Ontario approved for storage and administration of the coronavirus vaccine.
Its first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on Jan. 4, officials announced on Dec. 30.
“This is a major moment for our region,” stated Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer.
“I know all of us have been anxiously waiting for this news and I am pleased to be able to share it with you.
“Receiving our first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine marks the beginning of the final phase of this pandemic, as we move toward providing a vaccine for everyone who wants it.”
Public health will begin limited vaccinations on Jan. 4 with the full vaccination program launching the following day.
Vaccinations will begin with staff at long-term care and retirement homes “before moving on to other high-risk healthcare providers as more vaccine stock arrives in the region,” officials stated.
Due to transportation and storage requirements, vaccinations will initially be offered at WDGPH’s office in Guelph.
Officials say COVID-19 immunizations will be offered at other locations as other vaccines become available or the Pfizer vaccine is able to be moved.
“This is wonderful news. But this is the time for patience,” said Dr. Mercer, who noted it will be “several months” before the vaccine is available to everyone who wants it.
“In the meantime, we must all continue to follow the public health measures we know will keep everyone safe: gathering with only those you live with, wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distancing of six feet and practicing good hand hygiene.
“We want to make sure everyone gets safely to the end of this pandemic together.”
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the WDGPH website.