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Ontario says it is moving the Sarnia-Lambton region into lockdown on Monday after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

The government says it’s making the move in consultation with the region’s medical officer of health.

The province also says it will move the Northwestern Health unit into the second-strictest “red” category of Ontario’s colour-coded pandemic framework.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit will move into the “yellow” category.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the latest COVID-19 projections suggest Ontario is at a critical stage of the pandemic.

She says people should continue to follow public health measures to prevent further transmission of the virus.

Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson: Which COVID-19 vaccine will I get in Canada?

Canada pre-purchased millions of doses of seven different vaccine types, and Health Canada has approved four so far for the various provincial and territorial rollouts. All the drugs are fully effective in preventing serious illness and death, though some may do more than others to stop any symptomatic illness at all (which is where the efficacy rates cited below come in).

PFIZER-BIONTECH

  • Also known as: Comirnaty
  • Approved on: Dec. 9, 2020
  • Efficacy rate: 95 per cent with both doses in patients 16 and older, and 100 per cent in 12- to 15-year-olds
  • Traits: Must be stored at -70 C, requiring specialized ultracold freezers. It is a new type of mRNA-based vaccine that gives the body a sample of the virus’s DNA to teach immune systems how to fight it. Health Canada has authorized it for use in people as young as 12.

MODERNA

  • Also known as: SpikeVax
  • Approved on: Dec. 23, 2020
  • Efficacy rate: 94 per cent with both doses in patients 18 and older, and 100 per cent in 12- to 17-year-olds
  • Traits: Like Pfizer’s vaccine, this one is mRNA-based, but it can be stored at -20 C. It’s approved for use in Canada for ages 12 and up.

OXFORD-ASTRAZENECA

  • Also known as: Vaxzevria
  • Approved on: Feb. 26, 2021
  • Efficacy rate: 62 per cent two weeks after the second dose
  • Traits: This comes in two versions approved for Canadian use, the kind made in Europe and the same drug made by a different process in India (where it is called Covishield). The National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s latest guidance is that its okay for people 30 and older to get it if they can’t or don’t want to wait for an mRNA vaccine, but to guard against the risk of a rare blood-clotting disorder, all provinces have stopped giving first doses of AstraZeneca.

JOHNSON & JOHNSON

  • Also known as: Janssen
  • Approved on: March 5, 2021
  • Efficacy rate: 66 per cent two weeks after the single dose
  • Traits: Unlike the other vaccines, this one comes in a single injection. NACI says it should be offered to Canadians 30 and older, but Health Canada paused distribution of the drug for now as it investigates inspection concerns at a Maryland facility where the active ingredient was made.

How many vaccine doses do I get?

All vaccines except Johnson & Johnson’s require two doses, though even for double-dose drugs, research suggests the first shots may give fairly strong protection. This has led health agencies to focus on getting first shots to as many people as possible, then delaying boosters by up to four months. To see how many doses your province or territory has administered so far, check our vaccine tracker for the latest numbers.

Meanwhile, Ontario physicians are asking for patience as they prepare to join the province’s vaccine rollout this weekend, urging people anxious to get their shot not to call their family doctor’s office.

The president of the Ontario Medical Association said doctors in six regions are eager to begin administering doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot Saturday to people aged 60 to 64 years old, but there is concern their offices will be overwhelmed with calls.

“Patients don’t need to contact their physicians at this point,” Dr. Samantha Hill she said. “In fact, doing so will just delay people’s access to care. Physicians who have access to the vaccine will be calling their patients.”

The province announced this week that some family doctors in Toronto, Peel Region, Hamilton, Guelph, Peterborough, and Simcoe-Muskoka will be administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot.

The government said a limited number of doses will be provided to family doctors during the pilot project – some 29,500 shots – but that could increase as more vaccine shipments arrive.

Canada vaccine tracker: How many COVID-19 doses have been administered so far?

COVID-19 news: Updates and essential resources about the pandemic

The OMA could not immediately say how many physicians in each region will be participating in the pilot.

But Hill cautioned that a limited number of family doctors in those regions will be taking part in the rollout.

“Just because you’re in a specific public health unit doesn’t mean your physician will have access to (the vaccine),” she said. “And when thousands of people are calling their family doctors to try and get access … it ties up the line and makes it impossible for people to get through to their doctors with what can be an urgent problem.”

Hill said doctors expect to be a larger part of the vaccine rollout given that they administer roughly 70 per cent of Ontario’s flu shots each year.

“(Doctors) have the structure, they have the resources, they have the skills,” she said. “Everyone is aligned with the idea that right now what matters is getting as many vaccines as possible into arms as fast as possible.”

A pilot project offering Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to residents aged 60 to 64 in pharmacies in three public health units – Toronto, Windsor and Kingston – got under way Friday.

Justin Bates of the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association said interest in the pilot has been overwhelming.

Individual pharmacies are using their own booking systems and Bates said people should check online before calling.

Ontario reported 1,371 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 more deaths linked to the virus on Friday.

A total of 1,062,910 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province so far.

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