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Shipment of Moderna vaccine destined for Simcoe-Muskoka diverted

'What we’ve not got is the Moderna vaccine that we thought we would be getting; that’s been redirected,' says local medical officer of health
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While the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit claims the title of being the second-highest provider of vaccinations since immunization came to the province, local officials were prepared to distribute even more.

Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe-Muskoka's medical officer of health, confirmed Tuesday that he had expected a shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, but it was diverted and sent to another community.

To date, this area has only received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, which is considered more fragile and requires colder storage temperatures. About 8,100 vaccinations have been administered since it first arrived to the area Dec. 22.

“We received the same number of Pfizer vaccines that we were informed we would be getting. What we’ve not got is the Moderna vaccine that we thought we would be getting; that’s been redirected,” he said. “Overall, we’re working with a little bit less than we thought we would get because the Moderna vaccine has been redirected.”

Instead of Simcoe-Muskoka, the shipment was sent to the parts of the province with the heaviest case counts to help them deal with that situation, Gardner said.

Meanwhile, local health officials are expanding their use of the more technically demanding Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19. 

For the first three weeks, its use was restricted to a clinic established in Barrie’s old police headquarters on Sperling Drive, but health unit staff took it on the road to long-term care and retirement homes in Barrie and Orillia on Monday.

“I do look forward to the day that we have other vaccines to work with, as well; Moderna and possibly others that have yet been approved by Health Canada,” Gardner said. “The more we have of it, the more options we have and it would be good to work with vaccines that are less technically demanding than the Pfizer vaccine that requires a lot of care.”