Eastern Ontario has received their first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19. They arrived at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit the week of January 11. Vaccination started on January 13. With Ontario prioritizing the most vulnerable of our population to receive the first doses of the vaccine, the staff, residents, and essential caregivers of long-term care homes and retirement homes will be the first to receive their vaccinations in Eastern Ontario. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires intense refrigeration, to minus 70 degrees Celsius. The company has shipped the vaccine in dry ice because few freezers can get to such a low temperature. In the US, Pfizer’s decision to turn off the temperature sensors in the boxes that the vaccine is shipped in, caused a panic. Consensus is that Pfizer’s decision to disconnect the sensors once the containers have been delivered to their destination stemmed from a fear of legal challenges should the temperature of the containers go above minus 70 degrees Celsius, thus rendering the possibility that the vaccine become ineffective.
In other news Dr Paul Roumeliotis, EOHU’s Medical Officer of Health, assured the reporters gathered for one of his twice-weekly updates, that he was concerned about the allegation that many people from Quebec have been coming into Ontario to avoid some of the harsher restrictions in Quebec. He reassured them that he would follow up with enforcement officials to monitor box stores more effectively for people crossing the provincial border to shop, and to monitor how many people are in a store at any one time.