Hamilton receives $189K for vaccine refrigerators, $6M for COVID-19 costs from Ontario

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Hamilton Public Health Services is receiving $189,000 for fridges to store COVID-19 vaccines and $6 million for "extraordinary costs" related to the pandemic.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said during a Monday board of health meeting that she couldn't reveal where the fridges would go.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be stored between -80 C and -60 C.

Both the $6 million and $189,000 are listed as one-time funding.

It comes as the city began to vaccinate long-term care residents and high-risk retirement homes on Sunday with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

A mobile clinic run by public health, primary care physicians and paramedics started at Idlewyld Manor and will reach other long-term care residents, high-risk homes and homes in outbreak by Jan. 18.

Public health already has an appointment-only, fixed-site Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences that runs 12 hours daily.

It also says the criteria for selecting the order of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes was based on:

  • The risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Previous and current outbreak status.
  • Scheduling logistics in order to complete as soon as possible.

"This is about protecting those most at risk of COVID, saving lives and preserving health-care capacity for all. We need to continue to fight against COVID-19 in our community," Richardson said in a media release.

Hamilton excluded from testing program at airport

The city is expecting to receive the Moderna vaccine this week, according to MPP Donna Skelly and Michelle Baird, co-chair of Hamilton's vaccine logistics planning table and the city's director of healthy and safe communities.

Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech require two doses.

Unlike Toronto and Ottawa, the Ford government didn't select Hamilton as part of its COVID-19 testing pilot program at airports.

David Jensen, a spokesperson for Ontario's Ministry of Health, said in a statement Toronto and Ottawa's airports already had the fridges to store the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and have staff trained to handle it.

Hamilton public health says it expects vaccines will become available for more people in the winter and spring of 2021. And by the end of the year, everyone who wants a vaccine should be offered one for free.