Who’s next? Provincial, territorial vaccination plans begin to take shape

Vaccine deliveries are starting to ramp up again and Canadians everywhere are asking themselves the same questions: When will it be my turn? And how will I know?

Each province has a phased plan for vaccine deployment which indicates when the various priority groups can expect to receive the shots.

All provincial and territorial governments maintain they’re ready to speed up the vaccination effort as the supply increases, but some of their timetables remain vague. Here’s what we know so far about who’s getting the shots and when.

British Columbia

B.C. is still in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout, which covers residents and staff of long-term care facilities, health care workers who may provide care for COVID-19 patients and remote and isolated Indigenous communities.

The subsequent phase runs over February to March and includes seniors 80 and over, Indigenous seniors 65 and over, hospital staff and medical specialists, vulnerable populations living and working in congregated settings and staff providing in-home support to seniors.

B.C. says the province’s general population will start getting the vaccines in April, with older residents getting their shots first.

Andy Yoon, 77, of Abbotsford B.C., became the first long-term care resident in the Fraser Health region to receive the COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 24, 2020. (Submitted by Fraser Health)

Immunization clinics overseen by local health authorities are being organized in 172 communities in school gymnasiums, arenas, convention centres and community halls.

B.C. said it would start reaching out by the end of February to seniors 80 years and older, Indigenous seniors aged 65 and older and Indigenous Elders to tell them how to pre-register for immunization appointments.

Pre-registration for vaccinations opens in March. People can pre-register, online or by phone, two to four weeks before they are eligible. Eligibility is based on the current phase of the vaccination program and the recipient’s age.

Those contacted for vaccination appointments are pre-screened for eligibility before choosing a location, date and time to receive the shot.

After an individual gets their first vaccine dose, they’ll be told by email, text or phone when they can book an appointment for their second dose.

For more information about B.C.’s vaccination plan, go here.

Alberta

Alberta is in the first phase of its vaccine rollout. This phase — which is expected to run until the end of the month — covers health care workers who could be in direct contact with COVID-19 patients and residents of long-term care facilities.

As of Feb. 24, seniors 75 and over and seniors 65 and over living in First Nations and Métis communities will be eligible for vaccination. The Alberta government estimates there are about 230,000 seniors in these two groups.

Given the anticipated vaccine delivery schedule, Alberta Health Services says it expects it will be vaccinating people in this phase over most of March.

Masked Kehewin Cree Nation elders pray at a ceremony marking the arrival of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the northern Alberta community on Feb. 8, 2021. Kehewin council member Greyeagle Cardinal looks on from behind plexiglass. (Jodi Cardinal)

Phase 2 is expected to begin in April. Vaccinations in this phase will be offered to anyone aged 50 to 74 years, anyone with underlying health conditions, First Nations and Métis people aged 35 and older, residents and staff in congregate living settings and eligible caregivers.

The Alberta government says that, as supply increases, it will accelerate vaccinations on the model of its annual flu campaign by using Alberta Health Services staff, community pharmacies and family physicians. The province was able to administer 1.3 million flu shots in six weeks last fall — an average of over 30,000 shots per day.

For more information about Alberta’s vaccination plan, go here.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Phase 1 is still underway, focusing on health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care homes, residents 70 years and older and residents in remote and northern regions over the age of 50.

The timing is still not known, but Phase 2 will cover the general population starting with people aged 60-69, extremely vulnerable individuals and staff and residents of group homes and emergency shelters.

The province expects that when Phase 2 begins, there will be 226 vaccine clinics in 181 communities across the province operated by the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Those clinics will include mass vaccination sites, drive-through locations and mobile vaccination clinics. More sites will be added through pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

Debbie Frier, registered nurse, left, injects Leah Sawatsky, an emergency room nurse, right, with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Regina General Hospital in Regina on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

People will be asked to register for vaccination through an online platform or by phone. 

For more information about Saskatchewan’s vaccination plan, go here.

Manitoba

Manitoba’s immunization teams are now vaccinating residents at 1,400 congregate living sites, including hospitals, supportive housing facilities and assisted living sites. On February 19, immunization began in Brandon and Winnipeg.

The next eligible group includes health care workers who were not included in Phase 1, residents and staff of shared living facilities and essential workers.

Manitoba has set up a Vaccine Queue Calculator to allow Manitobans to estimate when they’ll receive their vaccines.

On March 5, the province expects to open two new “supersites” for large-scale vaccinations in Selkirk and the Morden-Winkler area, bringing the number of such sites to six. (Three are in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson, with a fourth facility at the airport outside Thompson.)

Michael David Blacksmith, a traditional ceremony and sun dance leader from Pimicikamak Cree Nation, is vaccinated at a pop-up site in Winnipeg. (Submitted by Government of Manitoba)

The province says it plans to expand to 13 supersites throughout Manitoba in April. It has hired 1,212 people to help with the vaccination effort.

More than 400 medical clinics and pharmacies have applied to be a part of the immunization campaign once a suitable vaccine is approved for use in these settings.

Manitobans with questions about the vaccination plan and their position in the queue can go to this website or call a toll-free number: 1-844-626-8222.

Ontario

Ontario’s vaccination rollout is in Phase 1, which covers staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and highest-priority health care workers.

As the vaccine supply increases, Phase 1 is expected to move on to adults 80 years of age and older, staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings, high priority health care workers, all Indigenous adults and adult recipients of chronic home care.

Phase 2 is set to begin in March. This phase will add more vaccination sites, including municipally run locations, hospital sites, mobile vaccination locations, pharmacies, clinics, community-run health centres and aboriginal health centres.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford watches a health care worker prepare a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN vaccine clinic in Toronto on January 7, 2021. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Phase 3 covers the general population and is expected to begin by late summer.

The Ontario government is developing an online portal for mass vaccination pre-registration and appointment booking. For those without access to the internet, the province will establish a customer service desk to register and book appointments. Neighbourhood mobile clinics are being planned by local public health units. 

For more information about Ontario’s vaccination plan, go here.

Quebec

Quebec continues to inoculate priority groups such as health care workers on the front lines, those who live in long-term care or seniors’ homes (known as CHSLDs) and those living in remote areas.

Once more vaccines arrive, Quebec plans to expand inoculations to include seniors 70 and up and those with chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

The province has started to prepare by securing mass vaccination sites, such as the Olympic Stadium.

A box of Pfizer/BioNTEch COVID-19 vaccine is taken from a UPS truck past news photographers to the Maimonides long-term care home in Montreal on December 14, 2020. (Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services/Reuters)

It has already set up mass vaccination sites in major urban centres in anticipation of an increase in the vaccine supply.  One of them — the Palais des congrès de Montréal in the heart of downtown — expects to vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day.

Quebec’s health department says it’s planning a public information campaign to inform residents about the vaccination process.

For more information about Quebec’s vaccination plan, go here.

New Brunswick

Phase 1 is underway, covering long-term care residents and staff, front line health care staff, First Nations adults and individuals 85 and over.

Phase 2 starts in April and will include residents in other communal settings, health care workers providing direct patient care (such as pharmacists and dentists), firefighters, police officers, home support workers for seniors, people 70 and over, people with complex medical conditions, volunteers at long-term care homes, people 40 and over with three or more chronic conditions and truckers or workers who cross the Canada-U.S. border regularly.

The N.B. government’s website says that details about who can register for vaccination and when will be announced in the coming weeks. Clinic locations are also being finalized.

New Brunswick’s first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrives on a cargo flight from Montreal. (Shane Magee/CBC)

The province is asking residents to wait for those details instead of tying up resources by calling the provincial tele-care number or their local health practitioners.

Prince Edward Island

P.E.I.’s vaccination effort is in its first phase, which will continue throughout March. Public health nurses had been delivering the vaccines; trained pharmacists were approved recently to administer the doses as well.

Those getting vaccinations in this phase are residents and staff of long-term care homes, health care workers in direct contact with patients who face an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors 80 and older, adults 18 and older living in Indigenous communities, residents and staff of shared living facilities (such as group homes, shelters and correctional facilities) and truck drivers and other workers who routinely travel out of the province.

Starting February 22, vaccine clinics in P.E.I. will start giving doses to seniors aged 80 and older.

The province says other population groups will be told when they can be vaccinated as the rollout continues. The province expects to have four clinics in operation starting in March — in O’Leary, Summerside, Charlottetown and Montague.

Long-term care resident Art Johnston, 98, was the first person other than a health care worker to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on P.E.I. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Vaccinations in P.E.I. are by appointment only. When their turns come up, Islanders can book their appointments by calling 1-844-975-3303 or by filling out a form available through this government website.

For more information about Prince Edward Island’s vaccination plan, go here.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s vaccination effort is in Phase 1. That covers those who work directly with patients in hospitals or care homes, people who live and work in long-term care homes and people who live and work in adult residential care centres and regional rehabilitation centres.

The next phase will include: anyone who works in a hospital (and might come into contact with patients); doctors, nurses, dentists, dental hygienists and pharmacists; people who live in correctional facilities, shelters and temporary foreign worker housing; people who are required to regularly travel for work (such as truck drivers); people responsible for food security (such as workers in large food processing plants); those aged 75 to 79 and those 80 and older.

N.S. Public Health is holding prototype clinics before deploying vaccines across the province.

The first prototype clinic — for seniors 80 years and older — will be at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax starting the week of Feb. 22. The province is planning to set up clinics in pharmacies as well.

Audrey Wiseman, 85, was one of the first long-term care residents in Nova Scotia to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Communications Nova Scotia)

Those at the head of the queue will receive letters from the province explaining how to schedule a vaccination appointment.

For more information about Nova Scotia’s vaccination plan, go here.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Newfoundland & Labrador is in Phase 1 of its immunization plan. Doses in this first phase are earmarked for congregate living settings for seniors, health care workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, people 85 and older and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities.

The next group to get shots will include health care workers who were not included in Phase 1, residents and staff of all other congregate living settings and essential workers. These categories are still being defined by the province and its health department says details of future phases are still being finalized.

For more information about Newfoundland & Labrador’s vaccination plan, go here.

Newfoundland and Labrador received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 15, 2020. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Yukon

Priority groups in Yukon have received their first doses and, in some cases, their second doses as well.

As of Feb. 19, high-risk health care workers and long-term care residents and staff had received their second doses.

Those living in remote rural communities and people aged 65 and older are to start getting their second doses beginning the week of Feb. 22.

Over the past few weeks, every community outside Whitehorse has been visited by one of two mobile vaccine clinic teams (named ‘Balto’ and ‘Togo’) delivering first doses to all residents 18 and over.

In Whitehorse, a mass clinic will open on March 1 that will deliver up to 800 immunizations a day — both first and second doses.

Agnes Mills, 85, was the first person in Yukon to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Mark Kelly Photography/Government of Yukon)

All Whitehorse residents 18 years of age and older can now book appointments for their first shots.

Those living in Whitehorse must book appointments online or by calling 1-877-374-0425. In rural Yukon, where internet connectivity may be an issue, appointments are recommended but walk-ins are welcome.

For more information about Yukon’s vaccination plan, go here.

Northwest Territories

All NWT long-term care residents have received first and second doses. The NWT COVID-19 vaccine strategy says the general population can expect access to the vaccine in March.

The strategy says enough doses to immunize 75 per cent of eligible residents 18 years of age and older should be delivered by the end of March.

“This generous initial allocation from the federal government recognizes the territories’ limited health care system capacities and the vulnerabilities of remote Indigenous communities,” says the document.

The vaccine schedule and booking tool are now online and will be updated as more doses are delivered.

Chris Balla, the Beaufort Delta regional operations manager for Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority, is responsible for making sure vaccines and vaccinations teams make it to their final destinations. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

Those living in larger centres are expected to call or book online for their vaccinations. In smaller communities, meanwhile, dates and locations for vaccination clinics will be advertised and residents will be asked to show up.

Multiple small mobile vaccine units are travelling to 33 communities to help local health care staff administer doses.

For more information on NWT’s vaccination plan, go here.

Nunavut

Nunavut says it expects to have 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18 vaccinated by the end of March.

Nunavut is only using the Moderna vaccine right now and has been staging vaccine clinics in two or three communities at a time.

Beginning next week, seven communities will be getting their first doses of the vaccine.

In Iqaluit, vaccinations are by appointment only and are being directed toward elders 60 or older, those living in community shelters, front line health workers, Medivac flight crews, residents and staff of group homes and Iqaluit’s Akaausisarvik Mental Health Treatment Centre, and residents and staff of correctional facilities.

A Canadian North Flight lands on the tarmac in Iqaluit, Dec. 30, carrying Nunavut’s first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

The next phase in Iqaluit is expected to begin in March.

Nunavut relays COVID-19 information through public service announcements via TV, social media, community radio and the government’s website. The website shows the locations of clinics, their times of operation and contact information.

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