Ontario announces who will lead unprecedented COVID-19 vaccine task force
TORONTO -- The Ontario government announced the members of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force Friday morning, saying the group will take on the “largest immunization program in a century.”
The task force includes nine members, who will oversee the storage, delivery and distribution of the vaccines across Ontario.
The team will include, Dr. Maxwell Smith, bioethicist and assistant professor at Western University, who will make recommendations about who should receive access to the vaccine first. The team also includes infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders and Ontario's Chief Coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer.
The task force is made up of medical, information technology and logistics experts and will be led by retired Gen. Rick Hillier. Together, the team will prepare to make the novel coronavirus vaccines available to Ontario residents as soon as possible.
"Ontarians can have confidence in the experience and expertise that members of this task force bring to this critical mission for our province," Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement on Friday.
"The valuable advice and varied perspectives that will be provided by this group of experts will support the safe and effective implementation of Ontario's largest immunization program in a century."
The province said the task force is expected to hold its inaugural meeting at 1 p.m. today to discuss priority populations for receiving the vaccines. Premier Doug Ford will be at the meeting, and therefore will not hold his daily press conference.
"This is a critical stage in our fight against COVID-19. The task force we have assembled will play a key role in developing and implementing Ontario's immunization program," Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement released Friday morning.
"I am confident that with the collective knowledge, experience and advice from these experts, Ontario will be ready to deliver the vaccines in an ethical, timely and effective manner as soon as they are available."
Here’s a full list of task force members and their titles:
- Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario's chief coroner and coordinator of provincial outbreak response.
- Dr. Homer Tien, trauma surgeon and president and CEO of Ornge.
- Dr. Maxwell Smith, bioethicist and assistant professor at Western University.
- Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious diseases consultant and internist at Toronto General Hospital.
- Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald of Taykwa Tagamou Nation.
- Dr. Regis Vaillancourt, director of pharmacy and integrated pain services at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
- Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corporation.
- Angela Mondou, President and CEO of TECHNATION.
- Mark Saunders, the former Toronto police chief.