Toronto to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine clinic operations in response to Omicron
Dr. David Bowers, executive director of the COVID-19 Immunization Partnership Ontario (CIOT), says he’s excited about the new Omicron trial vaccine that will begin March 17 in Toronto.
Omicron is made using DNA encoding a COVID-19 protein that’s been previously created and validated by Health Canada, which in turn is a collaboration with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and University of Ottawa.
The vaccine can elicit an immune response in people similar to the one a COVID-19 patient would normally have.
CIOT is the provincial government’s partnership with industry and not-for-profit organizations.
“We’ve got a high interest from a lot of partners as to the opportunities that this could have. So we’re really excited,” Dr. Bowers said in a phone interview today.
Dr. Bowers, a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, is also the president of the Ontario Medical Association. He said more studies are being conducted in addition to the Omicron trial that need to be done first.
He said CIOT has been in discussions with other stakeholders like the Ontario College of Family Physicians and the Canadian Immunization Research Council (CIRC).
Dr. Bowers said the province has set aside $4.7 million to help fund COVID-19 vaccine trials.
He said CIOT is focusing on the manufacturing of more than 100 doses of the Omicron vaccine and getting the trial underway in a timely fashion.
The province has requested that CIOT work with the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, and Simon Fraser University.
CIOT will develop a protocol for the Ontario government to support a phase 2 randomized clinical trial of Omicron (if it’s deemed feasible) during the pandemic, Dr. Bowers said.
“The Omicron trial is quite ambitious at this point. We’ll be able to do it in a timely fashion, but still in the midst of this pandemic,” Dr. Bowers said.
CIOT will work closely with the provincial