Message from the Medical Officer of Health on the Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines
It has now been about a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – a year that, sadly, has caused significant personal, social and economic hardships for many people. It has also demanded a great deal of sacrifice, effort and patience, as we have all worked together to try to bring the spread of COVID-19 under control. The months ahead will continue to have some challenges, and we must continue to do all we can to protect our community – however, the good news is that we are also seeing significant progress in the fight against COVID-19.
Thankfully, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are now available and are in the process of being distributed in our region according to Ontario’s 3-phase priority-based distribution plan. Please be assured that the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is undertaking every effort to distribute the vaccines as soon as they are received in order to protect as many of our residents as possible, as quickly as possible.
Due to high global demand, vaccine supply is limited at this time. To ensure the available supply is used where it is most critically needed, we are currently vaccinating populations at high risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, and frontline workers who are at high risk of exposure while caring for vulnerable populations and individuals with COVID-19.
Over the coming months, vaccine supply will increase significantly, allowing us to offer vaccines to more people. The EOHU will use a wide range of channels to notify individuals and population groups as soon as they are eligible for vaccination. I urge everyone to get the vaccine once it becomes available to you – please check our website regularly and subscribe to our social media channels for the latest information.
As with other regions in Ontario, we are now facing an added threat posed by new, more transmissible variants of the COVID-19 virus that can cause a rapid rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. For this reason, it remains extremely important to continue following public health precautions – even if you have received the vaccine – until a large majority of residents in our region have been vaccinated.
On a final note, I’d like to thank our region’s residents and our many community partners for your collective contributions to protecting our community throughout this past year, and for your patience as we undertake the enormous effort of vaccinating everyone in the EOHU region who would like to receive the vaccine. We are finally starting to see a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, and together, we will get through it.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, MD, CM, MPH, FRCP(C), CCPE
Medical Officer of Health
Eastern Ontario Health Unit