Queen’s 'anxiously awaiting' more information on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

KFL&A Public Health releases vaccine rollout strategy

KFL&A Public Health has a three-phase vaccination plan.
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While the local public health unit has released its COVID-19 vaccination strategy, it remains unclear how students fit into it.

The University told The Journal it’s “anxiously awaiting” more information about the vaccine rollout. 

“The scope and timing of the broader vaccination plan is being set by federal and provincial public health authorities,” the University wrote. “Queen’s continues to work closely with local health officials within KFL&A Public Health and KHSC on all aspects of its campus COVID-19 response plans, including on a vaccine strategy.”

“We will communicate to staff, faculty and students when we have more information. In the meantime, we remain focused on supporting our students, staff and faculty as we all work through the effects of the latest wave of the pandemic.”

Dr. Kieran Moore, chief medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health, described Kingston’s approach to the vaccine rollout in a video shared Jan. 6. 

Following recommendations established by the Ontario government, the vaccine will be distributed in three phases in the region.

The first phase will start with residents and workers of long-term care homes, then move to health-care workers, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis adults, and adults receiving home-care services. This phase is estimated to run from January to the end of March.

READ MORE: COVID-19 testing centre re-opens on campus

The second phase will run from April to July, giving the vaccine to members of the general public. This phase will start with essential workers before moving to adults over 80, gradually descending in increments of five years. Adults with two or more diseases or medical conditions will follow.

On Wednesday, the Ontario government said the first phase may overlap with the second. 

The final phase is expected to run from August until the end of 2021, seeing those aged 16 to 60 receive the vaccine. In the video, Moore referred to this group as having “less risk.”

“There is promise on the rollout,” Moore said. “If new vaccines become available, these phases may be accelerated to make it more available to the general public.”

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have both been approved and begun distribution in Canada.

READ MORE: Queen’s urges students to avoid Kingston until end of January 

When The Journal inquired about how Queen’s students fit into this plan, and whether they will be expected to get vaccinated in Kingston or in their home towns, KFL&A Public Health said “[i]t will take time for the COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed to everyone in the community.”

“Currently there are no COVID-19 vaccine clinics available to the public within the KFL&A region,” Public Health wrote in a statement to The Journal. “There will be a limited supply of vaccine in the first few months of the vaccine rollout. The government of Ontario is prioritizing those who are at greatest risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, and those who care for them.”

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