SUDBURY -- Exactly when the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in the Sudbury area is still unknown, but the health unit is detailing plans for how it will distribute the shot once it arrives.

The province has laid out a broad, three-phase timetable for rolling out the vaccine. Phase 1 is expected to last until March, and targets healthcare workers, staff and residents in care homes located in COVID hotspots. The only northern communities included in the initial rollout are First Nations communities, and Métis and Inuit populations.

The vaccine should arrive in the north during Phase 2, from April until August, when essential workers, people older than 60 and other at-risk populations will get the vaccine first, before other groups will be eligible. The final phase begins in September, when everyone who wants the vaccine will be able to get it.

When it does arrive, Public Health Sudbury & Districts said Friday the vaccine will be distributed using a number of methods, aimed at residents in its coverage area: Chapleau, Greater Sudbury, Lacloche Foothills, Manitoulin Island and Sudbury East.

"These approaches include mobile vaccination that will occur in settings where specific populations congregate or live such as long-term care and retirement homes," the health unit said in a news release.

As the vaccine becomes more widely available, mass clinics will be scheduled, targeting eligible residents. Pharmacies and doctor's offices will also give out the vaccine.

"The approaches will be selected and adapted to match factors such as vaccine supply, eligible population, community resources, and health provider capacity," Public Health said.

“When the vaccine arrives locally, we want to get it into the arms of eligible residents as rapidly as possible," Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health, said in the release.

"This means that pre-planning is essential. We have been working with partners and waiting with great anticipation for this crucial work to begin.

"The task ahead of us is daunting, but it’s made possible by our collective ‘can-do’ attitude. So many have stepped up to offer help and planning groups are being set up across our catchment area.”

The goal of the local program is to vaccinate at least 75 per cent of eligible recipients in the service area. Since the status of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is evolving rapidly, Public Health will provide updates as they come available.

"It’s clear that we all still need a big dose of patience and ongoing commitment to COVID-19 prevention measures," Sutcliffe said. "But we are embarking on an epic journey.”

For more information or if you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705-522-9200, toll-free 1-866-522-9200.