The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s (SMDHU) Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner said during his weekly briefing the roll-out of the COVID-19 locally has gotten off to a good start.

The latest update from the SMDHU reports that 8,165 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in its medical region. In the last 24 hours, 268 shots have been administered. The Health Unit says the doses have mainly been given to health care workers in local hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes.

Gardner said he has been told they have administered the second most vaccines when compared to other Health Units in Ontario.

“We’ve done all that we can to not waste the vaccine,” he added about administering the vaccine. “(Pfizer) guarantees you can get five doses per vial, but we and other Health Units in the province have found if you’re careful you can get a sixth dose.” 

“I think we’re off to a very good start,” Garnder said. “But we need to keep up the momentum.”

“As the vaccine becomes more and more plentiful we will broader out the provision of vaccine eventually to the entire community,” Garnder said. When that happens, he said they will work with “other partners” to deliver it. “We do have a planning process in place to be ready to provide that kind of immunization,” he added. 

“The province’s intention is that everyone who eligible for the vaccine will have received it by August,” Gardner said. “We have every intention of working with that timeline.”

Gardner said that this vaccine is how they will “gain control” of the pandemic locally and provincially. “All of us need to do our part and be part of this solution and abide by the control measures put in place.”