The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the Guelph area on Tuesday, one day behind schedule.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines had arrived at around 9 a.m. The public health unit will start administering vaccinations on Wednesday at 10 a.m., with the full vaccine program beginning on Jan. 6.
"This is tremendous news for our region," said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer in a news release.
"I'm grateful for Pfizer's ongoing support in ensuring we could begin vaccinations as soon as possible. The distribution of this vaccine on a global scale is a tremendous logistical challenge and it's clear Pfizer is taking all possible steps to make this process as smooth and as quick as possible."
The delivery of the vaccines came one day after they were supposed to arrive. Just a few hours before the first vaccination was set to be administered on Monday, that appointment and nearly 500 others were cancelled because of a last-minute delay.
The appointments with staff and residents from Shelburn Long Term Care Home in North Dufferin County are just some that have been rescheduled to recieve the first vaccinations.
"I think it's a relief but it's also a sense of responsibility as well as knowing we're just about to take that first step to end the pandemic locally," said Dr. Mercer. "I know we need lots of vaccines, way more than this one tray, but this one tray represents home and it represents hope for those in our community in vulnerable positions to keep them safe."
Public health officials said they spoke directly to Pfizer and were told that the shipment had been delayed, but when CTV News reached out to Pfizer, the company said it was not responsible for the delay, instead pointing at the Ministry of Health.
Still, nearly 1,000 doses of the vaccine are now ready to be given. It's expected that a long-term care worker will be the first person to roll up their sleeve on Wednesday.
Two more Pfizer shipments will arrive in the region in the next two weeks with nearly 2,000 doses.
The first shipment of Moderna vaccines are also expected to arrive in Guelph next week.