The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Windsor-Essex will be delayed due to supply issues, health officials say.
The setback comes as coronavirus hospital admissions skyrocket and the region’s death toll rises.
Windsor Regional Hospital stopped issuing the first doses of the Pfizer BioNtech shot on Monday, saying it had no choice in the face of “recent and sudden announcements” about deliveries.
The government has announced that the vaccine will become scarcer in the coming weeks due to production delays.
Provincial officials said the supply would be reduced by 80 percent in the week of January 25, 55 percent in the week of February 1, and 45 percent in the week of February 8.
Prime Minister Doug Ford on Tuesday expressed frustration with the delays, saying it was “worrying” and “a massive concern”.
The hospital says the development calls into question previous vaccine obligations, and officials are waiting for more information from the Department of Health on what to expect.
However, the hospital has currently vaccinated more than 8,000 people from priority groups, which is at least 90 percent of those currently eligible and wanting the vaccination.
But the hospital had to stop the first doses a week earlier than expected and may now have to postpone a few second doses as well.
“We will continue to attempt to deliver the second dose 21 days after the first dose, but depending on future deliveries, we may need to postpone the second dose for some as recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization,” said WRH CEO David Musyj in a Memo the hospital shared with CBC News.
Follow-up visits delayed
The tight supply also affects the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s vaccine rollout.
Theresa Marentette, CEO and chief nursing officer, said the unit had to postpone second visits to some retirement homes in order to give the first doses of the Moderna vaccine.
These visits are necessary as COVID-19 cases in the homes meant that not everyone was able to get their vaccination on the first visit.
“Due to outbreaks, we have had to postpone the time we can give people their vaccine based on their recovery from COVID,” she said.
The first wave of vaccinations has been completed in the nursing homes in the region, and one of the more than 40 facilities in the region still has to be vaccinated.
The health department expects a few doses to be made available in this house on Thursday.
Marentette said the health department withheld enough vaccine to deliver the required second dose of the vaccine in a timely manner.
The second dose is expected to be introduced from January 28th.
116 new cases, six deaths
116 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Windsor-Essex health unit on Wednesday, along with six other deaths.
There are 2,419 active COVID-19 cases in the region.
Of the new cases announced on Wednesday, nine are outbreak-related, 13 are close-knit confirmed cases, one was acquired by the community, while 93 are still under investigation.
In total, 277 people in Windsor-Essex lost their lives to COVID-19 in the pandemic.
There are currently 112 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, 18 of them in intensive care.
Five hospital outbreaks active
There are currently five active outbreaks in Windsor hospitals. Four outbreaks are active at Windsor Regional Hospital, two on the Ouellette campus and two on the Met campus. There is also an outbreak at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
Two community facilities, both assisted living locations in southwestern Ontario, are in the outbreak.
Outbreaks are active in 26 workplaces:
- Six in the Leamington Agriculture Sector.
- Five in the Kingsville Agricultural Sector.
- Three in the Windsor Health and Welfare Sector.
- One in the Leamington health and welfare sector.
- One in the health and welfare sector at Lakeshore.
- One in the Kingsville health and welfare sector.
- One in the food and beverage service sector in Windsor.
- Two in the manufacturing sector at Windsor.
- One in a personal service environment in LaSalle.
- Two in public administration settings in Windsor.
- One in a retail setting in Essex.
- One in Essex finance and insurance.
- One in a transport and storage environment in Windsor
There are 19 active outbreaks in care and retirement facilities:
- Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with a suitcase.
- Regency Park in Windsor with six resident cases and five personnel cases.
- Chartwell Royal Marquis, with a resident’s suitcase and a personal suitcase.
- Harrow Woods retirement home with five resident cases and two staff cases.
- Seasons retirement home in Amherstburg, with three personal suitcases.
- Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor with 31 resident cases and six personnel cases.
- Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with two stick cases.
- Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 36 residential cases and six staff cases.
- Leamington Mennonite Home with seven personal suitcases.
- Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 60 resident and 16 staff cases.
- Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 13 resident cases and eight staff cases.
- Huron Lodge in Windsor with 45 resident cases and 26 personnel cases.
- Sun Parlor Home in Leamington with two resident cases and 11 staff cases.
- Banwell Gardens Care Center in Windsor with 115 resident cases and 62 staff cases.
- The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 28 resident cases and 11 staff cases.
- Extendicare Tecumseh with 90 resident cases and 57 personal cases.
- Berkshire Care Center in Windsor with 94 resident and 61 staff cases.
- The village in St. Clair in Windsor with 162 resident cases and 129 personnel cases.
- Aspen Lake village in Tecumseh with 60 population cases and 29 personnel cases.
Falls in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia
Ten new cases were reported in Lambton County on Wednesday. There have been 1,685 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.
There were 11 new cases in Chatham-Kent for a total of 1,039.