Premier Doug Ford says he and his team are expecting Ontario to administer about 160,000 COVID-19 vaccinations each day by early spring, and he’s hoping for a return-to-normal as soon as possible.

“So far, so good. We’ve seen our numbers flatten out,” says Ford, noting recent drops in case numbers across the province as well as within the Northwestern Health Unit’s catchment area.

“Hopefully things will go back to normal sooner rather than later, but our number one goal is to vaccinate everyone. 160,000 vaccinations a day. Once everyone is vaccinated that wants to be vaccinated, I think we’re going to live in a much safer society.”

The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will prioritize those working and living in long-term care homes and remote First Nation communities. The Northwestern Health Unit is expecting this to begin in the region in February.

Ford says mass vaccinations for phase two of the rollout program will take place in April, May and June, which focuses on the elderly, frontline workers and those most at-risk. The third phase, the remainder of the population, is expected in the summer.

Ontario says they expected 150,000 doses from the federal government in December, and will expect 350,000 by the end of this month, 600,000 by February and 1.2 million by March to finish the first phase. 15 million additional doses are expected between April and July.

“We have a big job at-hand, and I’m so proud of the people of Ontario. Almost 15 million people and everyone’s pitched in with this pandemic. We couldn’t have done it without those folks. We have the greatest jurisdiction in the world. Bar none,” adds Ford.

In late December, health experts issued a dire warning to the provincial government. With new variants of the coronavirus from the U.K. and South Africa, the experts offered some sobering numbers about how quickly cases might spread.

The expert said Ontario might see 3,000 new cases a day in January, and 50 deaths a day in the province by February, if we didn't go through a province-wide shutdown. The 14-day lockdown started Dec. 26, and it was extended for 28 days Jan. 12, due to the increasing cases across the province.

COVID-19 vaccines are expected to only be available for non-pregnant adults over the age of 18. However, the groups authorized to receive vaccines could change and the program could be expanded.

For more information:
Premier offers updates on vaccinations, restrictions
Premier Doug Ford on the Q Morning Show