A look at what provinces and territories have said about COVID-19 vaccine plans

The federal government says the largest mass immunization effort in Canadian history could begin as early as next week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa expects to receive up to 249,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. Health Canada has approved its use. The second vaccine in line for approval in Canada is from Moderna. The Canadian military will have a role to play in vaccine distribution. Various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far:

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Premier Andrew Furey says he anticipates receiving 1,950 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the St. John's receiving site next week.

The announcement comes as Furey told reporters Monday that the province would remain outside of the Atlantic "bubble," meaning all visitors to the province must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they come from Atlantic Canada.

The province announced no new cases on Monday, but the town of Harbour Breton was on high alert as officials were still trying to chase down the source of an infection announced in the region over the weekend.

Furey says the province expects another shipment of the vaccine later in the month.

Prince Edward Island

Health officials on Prince Edward Island say they are ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when the first shipment of the vaccine arrives next week.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the province plans to begin by administering the Pfizer vaccine to priority groups, including residents and staff of long-term care homes, health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities.

Morrison says she expects to receive 1,950 doses in the first shipment, and the clinic will have to be held at the storage location because the Pfizer vaccine must be kept frozen.

She says the province will be able to start administering the doses the day after the vaccine arrives.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick health officials say the province expects to receive up to 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine around Dec. 14 as part of the first of two shipments that may occur this month.

The province is working to identify the priority groups that will receive the vaccine in the first phase of vaccinations, based on recommendations from the federal government.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health says the province will receive 1,950 doses of Pfizer's vaccine for an initial test run beginning Tuesday.

Dr. Robert Strang says the first doses will be used to immunize front-line health workers in the Halifax area who are most directly involved in the pandemic response.

Strang says because the vaccine has specific handling requirements, Pfizer has stipulated that the initial round of immunizations take place near where the doses are stored.

Nova Scotia has one ultralow-temperature freezer to store the vaccine at the tertiary care teaching complex at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.

Strang says the province is getting another freezer through Ottawa that will operate out of a central depot for vaccines at the public health office in Halifax. The province is also looking at securing freezers from the private sector.

Quebec

Quebec says the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could be administered in the province as early as next week.

Health Minister Christian Dube says the province plans to give its first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to about 2,000 people in long-term care homes.

In a technical briefing before a Monday news conference, public health experts said residents of long-term care homes and health-care workers would have first priority to receive the vaccine.

The groups next in line are people living in private seniors residences, followed by residents of isolated communities and then anyone aged 80 and over.

Dube says Quebec also expects to receive enough Pfizer vaccines between Dec. 21 and Jan. 4 to vaccinate 22,000 to 28,000 people.

It comes as Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday that his government isn't ruling out implementing further restrictions.

Ontario

Premier Doug Ford says vulnerable seniors, their caregivers and health-care workers will be among the first to receive a vaccine.

Adults in Indigenous communities, residents of retirement homes and recipients of chronic home health-care will also be considered priority groups.

But it may be April before the shots are widely available to others.

Retired general Rick Hillier, who is leading Ontario's vaccine task force, says the province should be able to vaccinate 1.2 million people during the first three months of 2021.

The province says it will also be prioritizing the rollout of the vaccine in regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says while the vaccine is not mandatory, people who do not get the shot may face travel restrictions or may not be able to access some communal spaces.

Elliott says the province will provide proof of immunization to everyone who receives a dose

Manitoba

Premier Brian Pallister says some 900 health-care workers in critical care units will be the first to receive the vaccine after doses start to arrive as early as next week.

As more shipments come in, priority will be given to other health-care workers, seniors and Indigenous people.

The province hopes to vaccinate more than 100,000 people by March -- that's roughly seven per cent of Manitoba's population.

Officials say they've been setting up a large-scale "supersite" to deliver the vaccine. The first freezer able to store the Pfizer vaccine at low temperatures has been delivered and installed, with another four on the way.

The province says the vaccine will become more widely available at a larger number of sites, similar to a conventional vaccination campaign, such as the annual flu shot.

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Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan plans to start immunizing critical health-care workers against COVID-19 in a pilot project next week.

Premier Scott Moe says the province expects to receive 1,950 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine by Tuesday. A pilot vaccination program at the Regina General Hospital will give the vaccine to health-care workers in intensive and emergency care, COVID-19 units and those working in testing and assessment centres.

The first official stage of Saskatchewan’s vaccination program will be in late December when the province receives more doses.

It will target more health-care workers, staff and residents in long-term care, seniors over 80 and people in remote areas who are at least 50.

Some 202,052 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive within the first quarter of next year, and there are to be 10,725 weekly allocations.

Moe says vaccinations for the general population is expected to begin in April.

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Alberta

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the first Pfizer vaccinations will begin Dec. 16, focusing on two hospitals in Edmonton and two in Calgary.

There will be 3,900 doses going to intensive care doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and care-home workers.

Shandro says the vaccine must be administered at its delivery site, so it can't go to care homes.

The second batch is expected later this month.

The province says it eventually plans to roll out the vaccine from 30 different locations.

British Columbia

British Columbia's provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, says because the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at ultracold temperatures, officials will bring people to the vaccine instead of the vaccine to the people.

Henry says workers in long-term care facilities will be the first to get the doses starting next week.

She expects about 400,000 residents to be vaccinated by March.

Those recipients are to be health-care workers, people over 80, vulnerable populations, and front-line workers, including teachers and grocery workers.

Nunavut

Nunavut's chief public health officer says the territory will look to get the Moderna vaccine once it's available in Canada.

Dr. Michael Patterson, says Moderna's vaccine is preferred because Pfizer's requires cold storage and shipping would be too difficult in Nunavut.

Patterson says Iqaluit is the only community where it would be possible to store the Pfizer vaccine.

Patterson says the territory's focus for vaccine rollout will be higher risk groups, such as elders. He says the rollout depends on how many doses Nunavut gets, which is still unknown.

Lorne Kusugak, Nunavut's health minister, says he's been lobbying the federal government to make Nunavut a high priority to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

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Yukon

Premier Sandy Silver says he is meeting with the Prime Minister and his fellow premiers later this week to discuss plans for vaccine rollout.

He says the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers.

Silver says rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he says he's emphasized with federal authorities.

The premier says he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine.

Silver says the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2020.

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