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A look at what provinces and territories have said about COVID-19 vaccine plans

The federal government says the largest mass immunization effort in Canadian history could begin as early as next week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa expects to receive up to 249,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. Health Canada has approved its use. The second vaccine in line for approval in Canada is from Moderna. The Canadian military will have a role to play in vaccine distribution. Various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far:

Newfoundland and Labrador

Premier Andrew Furey says he anticipates receiving 1,950 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the St. John's receiving site next week.

The announcement comes as Furey told reporters Monday that the province would remain outside of the Atlantic "bubble," meaning all visitors to the province must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they come from Atlantic Canada.

The province announced no new cases on Monday, but the town of Harbour Breton was on high alert as officials were still trying to chase down the source of an infection announced in the region over the weekend.

Furey says the province expects another shipment of the vaccine later in the month.

Prince Edward Island

Health officials on Prince Edward Island say they are ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when the first shipment of the vaccine arrives next week.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the province plans to begin by administering the Pfizer vaccine to priority groups, including residents and staff of long-term care homes, health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities.

Morrison says she expects to receive 1,950 doses in the first shipment, and the clinic will have to be held at the storage location because the Pfizer vaccine must be kept frozen.

The owner of a bluefin tuna exporting company in the eastern part of P.E.I. has offered up two freezers to the provincial government to aid in the effort to store the vaccine.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick's health minister says its shipment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be used to inoculate long-term care residents and staff, staff from rapid COVID-19 response teams, ambulance workers, health-care workers involved in COVID units, seniors 85 and older and First Nations nurses.

Dorothy Shephard says the vaccine plan would be carried out by the provincial Emergency Measures Organization.

The first round of vaccinations will be carried out at the Miramichi Regional Hospital, which has an ultralow-temperature freezer to store the vaccine.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health says the province will receive 1,950 doses of Pfizer's vaccine for an initial test run beginning Tuesday.

Dr. Robert Strang says the first doses will be used to immunize front-line health workers in the Halifax area who are most directly involved in the pandemic response.

Strang says because the vaccine has specific handling requirements, Pfizer has stipulated that the initial round of immunizations take place near where the doses are stored.

Nova Scotia has one ultralow-temperature freezer to store the vaccine at the tertiary care teaching complex at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.

Strang says the province is getting another freezer through Ottawa that will operate out of a central depot for vaccines at the public health office in Halifax. The province is also looking at securing freezers from the private sector.


Quebec says the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could be administered in the province as early as next week.

Health Minister Christian Dube says the province plans to give its first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to about 2,000 people in long-term care homes.

In a technical briefing before a Monday news conference, public health experts said residents of long-term care homes and health-care workers would have first priority to receive the vaccine.

The groups next in line are people living in private seniors residences, followed by residents of isolated communities and then anyone aged 80 and over.

Dube says Quebec also expects to receive enough Pfizer vaccines between Dec. 21 and Jan. 4 to vaccinate 22,000 to 28,000 people.

It comes as Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday that his government isn't ruling out implementing further restrictions.


Ontario expects to receive 6,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday and will give them to approximately 2,500 health care workers at a hospital in Toronto and another in Ottawa. 

Retired gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading Ontario's vaccine task force, says half the shots will be administered next week, and the other half will be intentionally held back to give the same workers a required second dose 21 days later.

"Given the sort of information flow of what we know about the supply, which is very little at this time ... we decided it was better to err on the side of caution," he says.

An additional 90,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive later this month and are to be provided to 14 hospitals in COVID-19 hot spots.

Hillier has said the province also expects to receive between 30,000 and 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the new year, pending its approval by Health Canada.

He says the start of the vaccination program next week will serve as a pilot that will help fine-tune the next step of the rollout.

"Once that is finished, both (hospitals) will write a playbook on how they've done the vaccinations, how they've handled the Pfizer vaccine, what they've learned from it, and we will share that around Ontario with the hospitals for the next phase," he said.

Ontario's Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that the hospitals receiving the first shots have made security arrangements to ensure the vaccine is safe from theft.


Premier Brian Pallister says some 900 health-care workers in critical care units will be the first to receive the vaccine after doses start to arrive as early as next week.

As more shipments come in, priority will be given to other health-care workers, seniors and Indigenous people.

The province hopes to vaccinate more than 100,000 people by March -- that's roughly seven per cent of Manitoba's population.

Officials say they've been setting up a large-scale "supersite" to deliver the vaccine. The first freezer able to store the Pfizer vaccine at low temperatures has been delivered and installed, with another four on the way.

The province says the vaccine will become more widely available at a larger number of sites, similar to a conventional vaccination campaign, such as the annual flu shot.



Saskatchewan plans to start immunizing critical health-care workers against COVID-19 in a pilot project next week.

Premier Scott Moe says the province expects to receive 1,950 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine by Tuesday. A pilot vaccination program at the Regina General Hospital will give the vaccine to health-care workers in intensive and emergency care, COVID-19 units and those working in testing and assessment centres.

The first official stage of Saskatchewan’s vaccination program will be in late December when the province receives more doses.

It will target more health-care workers, staff and residents in long-term care, seniors over 80 and people in remote areas who are at least 50.

Some 202,052 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive within the first quarter of next year, and there are to be 10,725 weekly allocations.

Moe says vaccinations for the general population is expected to begin in April.



Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the first Pfizer vaccinations will begin Dec. 16, focusing on two hospitals in Edmonton and two in Calgary.

There will be 3,900 doses going to intensive care doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and care-home workers.

Shandro says the vaccine must be administered at its delivery site, so it can't go to care homes.

The second batch is expected later this month.

The province says it eventually plans to roll out the vaccine from 30 different locations.

British Columbia

British Columbia's provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, says the province will start its immunization program next week with 4,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

She says the vaccine brings hope but the "storm" of the pandemic has yet to pass as a large number of infections and deaths continue.

Because the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at ultracold temperatures, officials will bring people to the vaccine instead of the vaccine to the people, she previously said..

Henry says workers in long-term care facilities will be the first to get the doses starting next week.

She expects about 400,000 residents to be vaccinated by March.

Those recipients are to be health-care workers, people over 80, vulnerable populations, and front-line workers, including teachers and grocery workers.


Nunavut's premier says the territory will get the vaccine made by Moderna in the first quarter of 2021.

Joe Savikataaq says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told him the Nunavut will get enough doses to vaccinate 75 per cent of the population. 

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Nunavut will prioritize elders and health care workers first for the vaccine. 

Savikataaq says his government is still working on its plan to rollout the vaccine once it arrives in the territory.


Northwest Territories 

The premier of the Northwest Territories says N.W.T. will receive 51,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine in the new year. 

Caroline Cochrane says that's enough to vaccinate 75 per cent of the population ages 18 and up. 

Cochrane says N.W.T. residents can be vaccinated in the first three months of 2021.

The territory is creating a vaccine team made up of nurses and support staff to travel to smaller communities. 

Health Minister Julie Green says two specialized freezers for storing the vaccines are on their way from the federal government and will be placed in Yellowknife and Inuvik. 

Smaller, portable freezers are also on the way and will be placed in smaller communities. 



Yukon says it will get enough of the Moderna vaccine by spring to vaccinate 75 per cent of its residents.

A statement from the Yukon government says the territory's allocation is in recognition of it's large Indigenous populations and remote communities.

Premier Sandy Silver says getting vaccinated is the best thing residents can do to protect themselves and their loved ones.

"Over time, widespread immunization will allow us to return to a life without COVID-19 restrictions."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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