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Toronto’s Anita Quidangen is first in Canada to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

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Data yet to show COVID-19 vaccine prevents transmission says Dr. Theresa Tam

The first doses of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccines have arrived in Canada and Ontario is the first province to receive them. Premier Doug Ford tweeted out this morning that he was at the airport in Hamilton as the first shipment touched down.

“Last night, I was in Hamilton to oversee the first shipments of the Pfizer vaccines as they touched down in Ontario. We have been preparing for this day for months and we are ready for the road ahead. Launching our vaccination program will finally put an end to COVID-19.”

Anita Quidangen, became the first person in Ontario and Canada to receive the shot. Anita is a personal support worker (PSW) from the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place, a long-term care home in Toronto.

The province says first doses will be administered to frontline health care workers. Premier Ford also issued a statement after the first COVID-19 vaccinations arrived at the airport.

“Today is a historic day for Ontario and for Canada as the first Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines have started to be given to our frontline health care heroes,” said Ontario’s Premier.

“I would especially like to recognize Anita Quidangen, the first person in Ontario and Canada to receive the shot. Anita is a personal support worker (PSW) from the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place, a long-term care home in Toronto. She has worked tirelessly to care for some of our most vulnerable, both throughout this pandemic and since her first days as a PSW in 1988. Anita has spent years rolling up her sleeves to protect our province, and today, she didn’t hesitate to find a new way to do so. She represents the best of the Ontario Spirit,” said Premier Ford.

Prime Minister Trudeau also took to Twitter to inform Canadians about the historic event.

While, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam said ton Sunday that there is no guarantee yet that those vaccinated will not spread the virus. “We must also remember that while the vaccine offers protection against disease, data does not yet exist on prevention of transmission – further reason to maintain our collective efforts,” ssaid Dr. Tam.

“It is important that all Canadians continue with safe individual health practices. “Canadians are urged to continue with individual practices that keep us and our families safer,” said Dr. Tam. “Limit close contacts to only those in our immediate household and reduce in-person interactions to only essential errands and activities, while consistently maintaining key public health practices: stay home/self-isolate if you have any symptoms, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask as appropriate (including indoors with people from outside your immediate household), and keep up with frequent hand, cough and surface hygiene.”

“Today’s milestone officially launches the first phase of our three-phase vaccine implementation plan to keep Ontarians safe and marks the beginning of the long journey to return life back to normal,” said Ford.

Over 2,500 health care workers in Ontario hospitals and long-term care homes will be vaccinated over the coming days and weeks, with more people to follow as additional shipments arrive.

“I encourage everyone to be patient. This is the biggest immunization program in a century, and our vaccine supply will arrive in stages,” said Premier Ford. “General Hillier and the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force are working with Health Canada and other provincial and territorial partners to ensure the vaccines are distributed quickly, so people can get immunized as soon as possible.

“This is a watershed moment – the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic. The light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter every day, but we must remain on our guard,” said Ontario’s Premier.

“As we continue to rollout these vaccines, I’m asking all Ontarians to please continue following the public health measures to keep everyone safe and healthy, especially during the holiday season. Avoid social gatherings, wear a mask when required, practise physical distancing, wash your hands frequently, and download the COVID Alert app,” said Ford. “As we await the arrival of more vaccines, this is our best and only defence against this deadly virus,” added Ford.

The process of vaccine rollout is presented in Canada’s detailed COVID-19 Immunization Plan. The plan maps out how safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will be made accessible for all Canadians who want them, in an efficient and coordinated manner.

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