The Ontario government has created a new vaccine distribution task force, led by a former Chief of Defence, to provide advice and recommendations on the development, implementation, and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine across the province.
“The fact that we are setting up this task force is a sign that we are making progress in the fight against COVID-19,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “I have asked General (Rick) Hillier to lead this effort because we need the best of the best for the monumental task at hand. I am confident he will bring the same disciplined leadership and military precision needed to execute one of the largest logistical undertakings our province has ever faced.”
Hiller is the former Chief of Defence for the Canadian Forces and Commander of the NATO-led forces during the War in Afghanistan. He has been named Chair of the Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and will lead Ontario in the implementation of the COVID immunization program.
“Having always believed that ‘duty calls’, the safe, secure and successful delivery of COVID-19 vaccines is a critical mission I’m honoured to accept for the people of Ontario,” said Hillier.
Other members of the task force will be announced in the coming days. However, the team will consist of members of government and will have external representation from individuals with diverse backgrounds in operations, government relations, public health, technology, and more. The team will advise on topics such as:
- Delivery, storage and distribution of the vaccines
- Support for health care system partners to deliver a phased vaccination program that initially prioritizes vulnerable populations and follows with mass immunization
- Clinical guidance on vaccine administration and surveillance of vaccine uptake
- Data, reporting, and technology to provide timely, relevant and accurate information to clinicians conducting vaccine administration, decision-makers, and the public
- Implementation of a broad and sustained public education and community outreach effort to encourage vaccination
“It’s important to keep in mind that a vaccine is still months away, so I’m urging everyone to continue following public health advice in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott.
Confirmed allocation of the doses and delivery and distribution of the vaccine has not yet been released, but planning for an early rollout of the vaccine program is currently underway. Vaccines are expected from Pfizer and Moderna. The government said it will release more information as details become available.