The provincial government has directed Hamilton to stop vaccinating people for COVID-19 for now, unless they are residents, staff, and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, according to the city.
The current supply issue, the City of Hamilton said, means it will cease administering the first dose of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to all other individuals.
“The news of the temporary halt in administering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines is extremely frustrating,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger in a media release.
“Hamilton has administered over 10,000 vaccinations to date, and with the rising number of people testing positive for the virus in our community, it is imperative we complete the two-dose vaccination program for our most vulnerable populations.”
People who have already received the first dose of either vaccine will be able to get a second dose.
As of Sunday, there are 879 active cases of the virus in Hamilton. The city has seen 8,117 cases, of which 6,716 are resolved and 219 people have died.
There are 42 ongoing outbreaks, the largest and deadliest being an outbreak at Grace Villa. The nursing home has seen 234 people infected, including 144 residents, 88 staff, and two visitors. Forty-three people have died.
The city said its mobile clinic has completed vaccinations of residents at Grace Villa. It’s also completely vaccinated residents at the following facilities:
- Idylewyld Manor.
- St. Peter’s Residence.
- Hamilton Continuing Care.
- Macassa Lodge.
- Shalom Village.
- The Village at Wentworth Heights.
- Arbour Creek.
- Clarion Nursing Home.
- Lakeview Nursing Home.
- Alexander Place.
There were vaccinations at other long-term care facilities this past weekend, the city said.
Aiming for March restart
The city says the delay is temporary. Ontario has relayed that Pfizer expects it will send enough vaccines to restart by March, according to the city.
The news comes after the city said it intended to start administering the Moderna vaccine on Saturday, Jan. 16.
It also follows Hamilton’s expansion of mandatory masking to some outdoor activities, such as while using outdoor skating rinks, tobogganing hills, escarpment stairs, and playgrounds and play structures.
“Now, it is up to each of us to do everything it takes to stop the spread of this virus and continue to follow public health advice. We cannot let this setback take us all off course or lose focus. We can and will get through this together,” said Eisenberger.
The city is reminding the public that it’s vital to follow public health measures, including the following:
- Limiting gatherings to members of your immediate household.
- Maintaining a two-meter distance from those outside your household.
- Washing hands frequently.
- Wearing a mask or face covering both indoors and outdoors.
- Staying home if you’re feeling unwell.
- Getting tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.