Local health unit envisions role for pharmacies in vaccine roll-out

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Three Ontario health units are preparing to see mass vaccinations in a pilot program by the province, but there’s no word on when Kawartha Lakes will see its turn. 

The Ontario government and the Ontario Pharmacists Association have reached a deal that will see vaccines being given in 4,600 pharmacies across the province. Those pharmacies are all in Toronto, Kingston, and Windsor.

“While public health units plan for how to deliver vaccines in their regions, the Province really calls the shots,” says Dr. Ian Gemmill, acting medical officer of health for the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

He says the Ontario government decides which types and how many doses of COVID-19 vaccines are delivered to each health unit region.

“As we’ve seen, the supply and delivery can quickly change, although I’m more confident that increased flows of vaccine will be arriving in coming weeks,” he says.

The local health unit’s vaccine rollout for this area “does envision a role for pharmacies to play,” says Gemmill. “But ultimately the province will define what this role will be.”

If the Ontario pilot works out in the three health units, and is expanded to other parts of Ontario, “all the better because it then gives even more options for people to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” he tells the Advocate.

Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Lindsay Advocate. He is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World,' and is also on the communications team of the Basic Income Canada Network. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.

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