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Melissa Vitug, a resident assistant at Houses of Providence Long Term Care Home in Scarborough, receives the first COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Megan Buchholz at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, on Dec. 22, 2020.Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Ontario says it expects to receive approximately 53,000 doses of the newly approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the end this month.

Premier Doug Ford says the new vaccine, which was approved by Health Canada on Wednesday, is a “‘game-changer.”

A spokeswoman for Ontario’s health minister says the province expects to receive the doses next week and they will first be taken to long-term care homes.

She says the province is working with public health units on a plan to start administering the shots in long-term care facilities during the first week of January.

Ford says the Moderna vaccine can be more easily transported than the Pfizer-BioNtech dose – the only other immunization approved by Health Canada – which is why it will be taken to long-term care homes first.

The premier says other priority groups, including Indigenous communities and residents of retirement homes, will also receive the Moderna vaccine soon.

CASES

Ontario is reporting 2,408 new cases of COVID-19 today.

The province says 41 more people have died from the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 629 of the new cases are in Toronto, 448 in Peel Region, 234 in Windsor-Essex, and 190 in York Region.

The province says 1,002 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

That number includes 275 people in intensive care, and 186 on ventilators.

The seven-day average for new infections is currently 2,304.

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This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.