Public Health Unit issues some very disturbing comments on how people in Halton will be vaccinated.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 19th, 2020



We asked the media people at the Regional Public Health Unit what there were in the way of plans to vaccinate people in Halton once the vaccine is available.

We got the following response:

Plans are underway to establish a COVID-19 vaccination centre at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) for the region of Halton.

• Due to the current limited supply, the province is focused on getting vaccines to the most vulnerable populations. Halton Healthcare is working with Halton Region Public Health to prioritize the use of the vaccine for health care workers and essential caregivers in long-term care homes in our region as well as those working in high risk retirement homes (i.e. memory care provision).

For additional information on how priority populations are identified, please contact the Ministry media line at 416-314-6197 or

We received a note from a reader who said that Joseph Brant Hospital did not have the capacity to freeze the vaccines the required intensive freezing. The Public Health Unit said:

Please contact Joseph Brant Hospital regarding freezer capacity.

Are we all going to have to trek to the Oakville hospital?

A very disappointing response from the public health people.

Last week Burlington City Manager Tim Commisso said that his understanding was that vaccinations would be top level down with the federal government providing the vaccines to the provinces and the province passing it along to the municipal sector who would do the actual inoculation in municipalities using spaces that were large enough for people to enter, get their needle in the arm and leave the building.

The Nelson arena south of the QEW and the Haber Recreation centre north of the QEW were mentioned as locations.

The nurses doing the inoculation would be provided by and supervised by the Regional Public Health Health Unit.

This sounded like a sensible approach – but it certainly doesn’t jibe with what the Public Health Unit had to say.

There is a communications problem here.

What was that line Paul Newman gave: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”


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11 comments to Public Health Unit issues some very disturbing comments on how people in Halton will be vaccinated.

  • L Rosser

    I am91 when May I get vaccine? Who will let me know?

  • Denise W.

    This out on the 21st. Should have medical teams at injection sites.
    You read it here first……

    Severe allergy-like reactions in at least eight people who received the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech over the past 2 weeks may be due to a compound in the packaging of the messenger RNA (mRNA) that forms the vaccine’s main ingredient, scientists say. A similar mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna, which was authorized for emergency use in the United States on Friday, also contains the compound, polyethylene glycol (PEG).

  • Denise W.

    And then just when things might get under control….

    And now, back to banter about Cool Hand Luke….

  • Actually, it wasn’t Paul Newman who said: What we have here is a failure to communicate – it was Strother Martin in the Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke.

  • BN

    Pfizer website states that once the vaccine reaches the point of use destination (Oakville hospital) it can be stored at ultra low temp for up to 6 months. It can then be thawed and stored at 2-8 C for five days. I think this means it can be distributed to multiple public immunization sites across the region as long as it is used before it expires in 5. Oakville Hospital can serve as a central hub and every hockey rink and school can be the spokes.

  • Denise W.

    The drive through vaccination concept may not be viable right now. Some, though rare, are having allergic reactions to the vaccine. Thinking is, because of PEG (polyethylene glycol). No proof yet. It is a lipid stabilizer found in many things, shampoo, colon prep, steroid injections and I think still applied to some hard candies. It stabilizes the nano lipid bubble that keeps the mRNA fragment protected. (Should be a Nobel prize for developing this mRNA technology as it opens the doors for HIV, ebola, cancer and many others and perhaps a universal influenza vaccine. Who get’s the prize, the BioNTech people? Anyway this allows humankind to rapidly develop vaccines for new threats. This is actually huge.)

    And good old sucrose as a cryo-protectant. So that the nanoparticles do not stick together from freezing. And help the medicine go down. Various sugar formulations (molecules) and sorbitol is in many vaccinations as stabilizers.

    A PEG allergy is very rare. But if you give something to enough people, you will get rare reactions. The amount of PEG in the injection is negligible, so maybe why the reactions have been more mild, transient and likely resolved with antihistamines and or epi-pens and or steroids within a few hours.
    (People have reactions to the flu vaccine. Largely in part that egg is used to make the vaccine and people can become allergic to eggs at any time.)

    So, bottom line is, a 20 minute wait, might be in order until a vaccine comes along without PEG in it. Or whatever is causing the reactions.

    Bonus reading here for those inclined, a very nice article.

  • Denise W

    I see some countries are doing drive through inoculations. Might be a thought.

    Might also be a thought to use the doses to give everybody a first shot…. A significant number ( I think it was 80 percent) of subjects in the M. and P. phase 3 trials developed significant immune response, yes? So about an 80 percent effective rate for double the population rather than 90 percent effective rate, for half as many? Herd immunity might be achieved faster. Downside and ethics spoiler….. is that 20 percent will be unprotected. So not very likely to go that way. Unless if groups are split up by demographics? Over time, more vaccine will become available and after a year or so, we will likely be getting the double dose as part of regular flu prevention.

    Locations…. the people to consult are the ones that manage large groups of people. Be it for voting or concert/sports venues.

    Storage of the vaccine varies slightly by type. For example it may only be allowed to be stored in dry ice for up to 5 days. And it has to be properly thawed. Not sure but I think it likely that it can easily be transported small distances. There must be some work-arounds.

  • Collin

    Once the Moderna vaccine is approved, we won’t need the stringent refrigeration requirements. We’ll probably have that in January. We’re still in early days of the vaccination campaign. By the time we have enough doses for the general public, refrigeration won’t be as much of an issue. For anyone in the eastern part of Burlington, Trafalgar is just as easy to get to as Brant anyway.

  • Marshall

    Staff at Halton Region Public Health have to do some creative thinking. There are approximately 500,000 people in Halton. Funnelling all these people through OTH will be a disaster.The freezer requirement is correct for long term storage but the injection sites don’t have to be near the deep freeze units. I doubt whether OTH will have the facilities to handle all of these people. Are there the parking facilities and how much would that cost for the hour or so wait in line?
    The use of arenas makes more sense with ample parking and enough space to handle large groups of people. Vaccine can be transported to these sites on a daily or hourly basis depending on demand without losing potency.
    I remember that the H1N1 vaccine sites were in high school gymnasiums and there were reasonably long lines of people being inoculated. The demand for this vaccine will be greater as spring approaches.

  • MrBean

    Paul Newman never said that in Cool Hand Luke. The Burlington Gazette is going downhill in a hurry 🙁

    Editor’s note: Our reader was indeed very correct. The phrase was said to Paul Newman in the movie Cool Hand like after viciously whipping him. 🙂