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Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force Updates

Photo by Daniel Schludi on
Photo by Daniel Schludi on

*NOTE: We have launched this page to provide a consolidated source of information and updates to residents on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, and where relevant any involvement by the City of Burlington or Region of Halton in assisting with vaccination  programs.

Check back regularly for updates.

The Vaccination Program is voluntary and administered by the Province of Ontario, with help from local Public Health units — for the City of Burlington this means Halton Public Health. 

The City of Burlington is ready to assist, if needed, with facilities and logistics for any broad vaccination efforts in the Province’s rollout program through our City COVID-19 Vaccine Coordination Taskforce.

Please continue to visit for the current situation in Halton and our COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for up to date information on the status of our COVID19 vaccination program.



Monday, Jan. 25, 2021:

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021:

  • Halton Region Council calls upon Federal Government to speed up delivery of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Highlights from Premier Ford’s briefing today:
    • The Premier spoke with Israeli officials today about their vaccination roll out. They have been recognized for the effective mass vaccination roll out. Predictable vaccine supply is critical.
    • Adjustments to the Province’s vaccination program were announced today. The adjustments are being made following notification by the federal government of reductions in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments. – Media Release
    • The Ontario government is accelerating the vaccination of residents in long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care homes by a new target date of February 5, 2021. To protect access to second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those who have already received their first dose, Ontario will maintain the maximum interval of 21-27 days for long-term care, retirement and First Nations elder care home resident groups and up to 42 days between the two doses for all other groups.
    • On January 19, 2021, the federal government notified the province of further reductions in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments. Ontario will not receive vaccine deliveries for the week of January 25, 2021 and will receive just over 26,000 doses for the first weeks of February. As of today, Ontario has not been provided its allocation for the weeks of February 8, 2021 and February 15, 2021, creating further uncertainty for the province’s vaccine rollout.
    • In response to the significant reduction in distribution by the federal government and the uncertainty of future shipments, the province and vaccination sites have worked together to develop a plan to accelerate vaccination of the province’s most vulnerable. Second doses will continue to be administered based on availability of supply provided by the federal government. Actions being taken include:
      1. Accelerate vaccination of the most vulnerable populations across Ontario with the goal of visiting each home in the province to administer first doses by February 5, 2021, pending week of February 1, 2021 delivery dates.
      2. Doses of the Moderna vaccine will be reallocated to 14 public health units to ensure vaccines are administered at each long-term care home in the province.
    • The government is ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and expand the number of vaccination sites as soon as doses are received. Ontario has capacity to vaccinate nearly 40,000 people per day and is building capacity to triple or quadruple that capacity pending federal government supply.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021:

  • Ontario Achieves Key Milestone with Vaccinations in Long-Term Care — Residents and Workers in Seven Regions Immunized Ahead of Schedule
  • Highlights from today’s Premier briefing:
    • Ontario has reached a key milestone in the fight against COVID-19, completing the first round of vaccinations ahead of schedule in all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex, the four regions with the highest COVID-19 transmission rates. The first round of vaccinations has also been administered at all long-term care homes in the Ottawa Public Health Region, Durham Region and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.  – Media Release
    • To date, more than 40 percent of all long-term care homes across the province have had an opportunity to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 83,000 long-term care residents, staff and essential caregivers have been vaccinated.
    • Progress continues to be made with the goal of administering vaccines in all long-term care homes across the province by February 15, 2021.
    • As part of Phase One of its vaccine implementation plan, Ontario will continue to focus on vaccinating vulnerable populations, and those who care for them, as more supply becomes available. On January 15, the province was alerted by the federal government that due to work to expand its European manufacturing facility, production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine will be impacted and Canada’s allocations of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the remainder of January and early February will be reduced.
    • To respond to this change in supply of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has provided updated direction on the administration of second doses:
      1. Long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents and their essential caregivers, who have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, will receive their second dose in 21 to 27 days.
      2. Staff who were vaccinated within the homes at the same time as the residents will also follow the same schedule.
      3. All other recipients of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine must receive their second dose after 21 days and before 42 days.
      4. For individuals who received the Moderna vaccine, the dose schedule of 28 days will remain.
    • The province’s vaccine strategy prioritizes the most vulnerable populations first, including residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes in regions with high COVID-19 transmission rates, who are at higher risk of contracting the virus.
    • As of January 19 at 12:00 p.m., over 226,000 doses have been administered across the province.

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021:

Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021:

  • Statement from the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health:  Implementing COVID-19 Vaccination in Canada — Vaccine Dose Interval – Statement
    • Provinces and territories are in the process of vaccinating Canadians safely and rapidly, as supply becomes available from manufacturers, beginning with groups at greatest risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death, as well as health care providers who care for these high-risk individuals and are key to protecting the integrity of our health care systems.
    • Canada, like other countries, is in the midst of a pandemic surge – COVID-19 cases are rising, healthcare system capacity is profoundly stretched in some places, and the risk of severe illness and death is growing. Faced with this reality, along with current constraints in vaccine supply, and the imperative to rapidly vaccinate as many high-risk people as quickly as possible, public health authorities are examining options, including potentially delaying the second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
    • This option is being considered only when necessary in order to give more high-risk people earlier access to vaccine in jurisdictions where the number of cases are rising rapidly and threatening the health care system’s ability to keep up. Extending the interval between the doses maintains the 2-dose requirement approved by Health Canada while allowing some flexibility to more rapidly protect high-risk individuals and their health care providers in areas with surging COVID-19 cases.
    • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) addresses the question of delaying the second dose of vaccine in their updated Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 Vaccine.
    • NACI advises that while the second dose should be given according to the approved schedule if possible, jurisdictions may consider delaying the second dose due to logistic or epidemiologic reasons until further supplies of the vaccine become available, preferably within 42 days (6 weeks) of the first dose.
    • In their expert view, this interval increase is expected to yield similarly high protection seen with second dose administration at 21 or 28 days after the first dose. This is consistent with recommendations released on January 8, 2021 by the World Health Organization that provides flexibility to extend the dose interval up to 42 days in circumstances of vaccine supply constraint and high disease burden.
    • The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021:

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021:

Friday, Jan. 8, 2021:

Update from General (Ret’d) Rick Hillier, Chair of COVID-19 Distribution Task Force.

  • Accelerated Long-Term Care Home Vaccination Plan launched. Four public health units (Toronto, York, Peel and Windsor-Essex) are piloting the administration of the Moderna vaccine and are accelerating their vaccination plans at 161 long-term care homes. the goal is to offer all residents, caregivers and staff who have not been vaccinated, the vaccine, on-site, by January 21, 2021.
  • 91,000 Ontarians vaccinated to date


Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021:

Monday, Jan. 4, 2021:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT RELEASE: Ontario Releases Ethical Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
    • The Ontario government has released an Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution which was developed in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force to guide further vaccine prioritization and distribution across the province. The province continues to vaccinate vulnerable populations and those who care for them through Phase One of its three-phase implementation plan as additional vaccines become available.
    • Phase One of Ontario’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan began on December 15, 2020 at two hospital sites, and increased to 17 additional sites the following week, with the delivery of 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses. With Health Canada’s recent approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the province can expect about 50,000 additional doses before the end of the month.
    • The Ethical Framework includes the following principles to guide COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
      • Minimize harms and maximize benefits, to reduce overall illness and death related to COVID-19, protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and death due to biological, social, geographical and occupational factors, protect critical infrastructure, and promote social and economic well-being;
      • Equity in the distribution of vaccines without bias or discrimination, to reduce disparities in illness and death related to COVID-19, and ensuring benefits for groups experiencing greater burdens from the COVID-19 pandemic;
      • Fairness, to ensure that every individual within equally prioritized groups has the same opportunity to be vaccinated, and to ensure inclusive, consistent processes that are tailored to unique needs of Ontario’s many and varied communities when making decisions about vaccine prioritization;
      • Transparency, to ensure the principles and rationale, decision-making processes and plans for COVID-19 prioritization are clear, understandable and communicated to the public;
      • Legitimacy, making decisions based on the best available scientific evidence, shared values and input from affected parties including those historically underrepresented, to ensure decisions have the intended impact, and to include participation of affected parties in the creation and review of decisions and decision-making processes; and
      • Public trust, to ensure decisions and decision-making processes are informed by these principles to advance confidence and trust in Ontario’s COVID-19 immunization program.
    • Ontario has launched a new webpage detailing the province’s three-phase immunization program, information on COVID-19 vaccines, safety measures and approval standards, as well as daily updates on the number of Ontarians vaccinated.
    • The province will shift to Phase Two of its vaccination implementation plan, which is expected to begin later in the winter of 2021, when more vaccines become available to Ontario. During Phase Two vaccinations will continue for health care workers, long-term care homes, retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions, and additional First Nation communities and Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit individuals. The task force will use the Ethical Framework and the best available data to identify further priority populations within this phase, based on available vaccine supply.

Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020:
Update from General (Ret’d) Rick Hillier, Chair of COVID-19 Distribution Task Force: Moderna vaccine approved, Priority Distribution based on Ethical Framework:

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020:

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020:

Friday, Dec. 18, 2020:

  • Halton Region launches COVID-19 Vaccine updates webpage
  • Ontario Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Locations
    • Ontario will be distributing additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine to 17 more hospital sites over the next two weeks, including regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection. This is part of the initial phase of the government’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan that began on December 14 with the initial vaccinations administered at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN), followed by the launch of the pilot project at UHN and The Ottawa Hospital on December 15.
    • Ontario is expecting to receive up to 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses from the federal government before the end of the year to continue vaccinating health care workers and essential caregivers who work in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors. To prepare for the rollout of these next shipments, the following 17 hospital sites will be receiving the vaccine in addition to UHN and The Ottawa Hospital:
    • Windsor Regional HospitalLondon Health Sciences Centre
      Grand River HospitalHalton Healthcare
      Hamilton Health SciencesWilliam Osler Health System
      Trillium Health PartnersSouthlake Regional Health Centre
      Mackenzie HealthHumber River Hospital
      Sunnybrook Health Sciences CentreToronto East Health Network
      Unity Health TorontoScarborough Health Network
      Lakeridge HealthRoyal Victoria Regional Health Centre
      Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
    • We are all part of the same public health region and residents throughout Halton will be eligible for this vaccine. There needed to be a single distribution point initially, and that is Oakville Trafalgar, but distribution isn’t limited to Oakville residents.
      • The vaccine will be distributed across the Halton Public Health Unit which includes all four  municipalities: Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills.
    • All of these sites already have the equipment necessary to safely store the Pfizer vaccine at -70 degrees and the required staff are ready to receive and administer vaccines. Since this vaccine cannot be transferred beyond the initial delivery location at this time, vaccinations will continue to be administered to health care workers in high-risk settings first, such as long-term care homes and hospitals. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre was selected to test the travel logistics in Northern Ontario and support the administration of the vaccine to Indigenous and remote communities.
    • The province’s decision to identify key populations to receive the vaccine first is based on the advice of medical experts and ethicists, and recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and aligned with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendations.
    • The province will shift to Phase Two of its vaccination implementation plan, which is expected to begin later in the winter of 2021, when more vaccines become available to Ontario. During Phase Two, vaccinations will be administered to health care workers, as well as to residents in long-term care homes, retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions and additional First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit individuals.

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020:

  • Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Update: Vaccine Rollout Planning and Coordination
    • Some municipal CAOs/senior staff are reaching out now to their hospitals and public health units within their public health unit regions to set up vaccine rollout regional planning and coordination tables. These efforts can support the limited Phase 1 process now underway and help prepare for future steps in the vaccine rollout. Municipal staff may be able to assist in a number of ways such as public communications, providing facilities, aiding in transportation, managing parking and traffic control.
    • There will be a number of unexpected issues that arise throughout this distribution process and working together will allow quick local and coordinated problem solving and operational action when needed. We encourage the municipal sector to reach out now and assist your public health and health care partners to make 2021’s vaccine distribution process as well planned, transparent, and seamless as is possible.
    • The Phase 1 vaccine rollout out is occurring only in hospitals right now given the -70 C freezer requirement but with the word today that the more mobile Moderna vaccine is likely to be here by the end of December, more regional planning and coordination will be necessary between the public health units, the hospitals and the municipal sector.
  • Canada to receive early access to Moderna COVID-19 vaccineMedia Release
    • Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that following successful negotiations and contingent on Health Canada authorization of the vaccine, Canada will be able to access 168,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020.
    • These are part of the guaranteed 40 million doses, and up to a total of 56 million doses, that Canada has secured through its existing agreement with Moderna. As with all COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the Moderna vaccine must be authorized by Health Canada before being administered to Canadians.
    • The Government of Canada will continue to conduct dry-run exercises to confirm ordering and shipping processes for additional vaccines as they become available. These dry-run exercises are important to ensure that the Provinces and Territories have the necessary infrastructure and equipment in place and are able to plan to effectively and efficiently administer COVID-19 vaccines as they roll-out.
    • Moderna submitted an application for regulatory review of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate under Health Canada’s interim order on October 12, 2020. Results of this review are expected soon.  Health Canada will only authorize a vaccine once it has been shown to be safe, effective and of good quality.
  • Government of Canada invests in promising treatment that could fight COVID-19Media Release
    • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, today announced a contribution of up to $6.7 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to Arch Biopartners, a Canadian clinical-stage biotechnology company that aims to advance its lead drug candidate Metablok as a treatment for organ inflammation in severe cases of COVID-19. Metablok is designed to block inflammation in the lungs, liver and kidneys, helping alleviate complications in the worst cases of COVID‑19.
    • This funding will help Arch Biopartners advance Metablok through Phase II clinical trials to prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute kidney injury and other organ injuries caused by inflammation in hospitalized patients with severe cases of COVID-19. It will also help Arch Biopartners advance studies for optimal dosage; perform chemistry, manufacturing and controls to support the drug’s approval as a COVID-19 treatment; and ultimately prepare for a Phase III trial. This project will support Canada’s fight against COVID-19. Arch Biopartners has received Health Canada approval to conduct its Phase II clinical trials in Canada and is preparing to begin dosing patients in Canada.
    • Through this investment, the Government of Canada is contributing to breakthrough technology, efforts to advance the development of a treatment for COVID-19, and the commercialization of a made-in-Canada solution.

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020:

  • Provincial Government Briefing:
    • The Premier and General Hillier spoke about the launch of the vaccination program in Ontario yesterday. They both thanked the “thousands” of people involved in making this happen.
    • General Hillier called yesterday an emotional day. In 2-3 weeks he expects to have 90,000 more Pfizer vaccines in Ontario which will be distributed to 19 (includes Toronto and Ottawa sites) sites throughout the province
    • Question Period:
      • Where will the Moderna vaccine go first? General Hillier said that it will go to long term care homes in lockdown and hot spot regions. He said it may also go to retirement homes in those areas. Both residents and staff will be vaccinated.
      • When we begin to receive the vaccine in bulk what is the maximum number of people that will be vaccinated in one day? General Hillier, said it would be thousands/day. He expects that by the first quarter of 2021, 1.2 million Ontarians could be vaccinated. “We can vaccinate people faster than we can get the vaccines”
      • Should teachers be prioritized to receive the vaccine? The Premier said he is receiving calls from many groups about being moved to the top of the list for vaccinations. Minister Elliott said the vaccine task force will make recommendations to cabinet on who should be prioritized for vaccinations.
      • Have you ruled out using the Pfizer vaccine in long term care homes? General Hillier said that the Pfizer vaccine can not be moved from where it has been currently delivered. “Moving long term care residents to vaccination sites is to risky.” Vaccinating personal support workers and other staff provides a layer of protection until the Moderna, or other vaccines that are more stable than the Pfizer vaccine are approved. When approved the Moderna vaccine, which can be moved, will be used to do vaccinations in long term care homes.

Monday, Dec. 14, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL MEDIA RELEASE (Dec. 14, 2020): Ontario Delivers First COVID-19 Vaccine in the Country
    • Premier Doug Ford issued the following statement on the first COVID-19 vaccinations being administered to frontline health care workers in Ontario and in the country:
    • “Today is a historic day for Ontario and for Canada as the first Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines have started to be given to our frontline health care heroes.
    • I would especially like to recognize Anita Quidangen, the first person in Ontario and Canada to receive the shot. Anita is a personal support worker (PSW) from the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place, a long-term care home in Toronto. She has worked tirelessly to care for some of our most vulnerable, both throughout this pandemic and since her first days as a PSW in 1988. Anita has spent years rolling up her sleeves to protect our province, and today, she didn’t hesitate to find a new way to do so. She represents the best of the Ontario Spirit.
    • Today’s milestone officially launches the first phase of our three-phase vaccine implementation plan to keep Ontarians safe and marks the beginning of the long journey to return life back to normal. Over 2,500 health care workers in our hospitals and long-term care homes will be vaccinated over the coming days and weeks, with more people to follow as additional shipments arrive.
    • I encourage everyone to be patient. This is the biggest immunization program in a century, and our vaccine supply will arrive in stages. General Hillier and the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force are working with Health Canada and other provincial and territorial partners to ensure the vaccines are distributed quickly, so people can get immunized as soon as possible.

The Province has announced a three-phase implementation plan to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians as as they are received.
Phase One began on Dec. 15 with a pilot project in Toronto and Ottawa that included the vaccination of more than 2,500 health care workers with the Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The pilot is in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Pfizer-BioNTech. Two pilot sites at University Health Network in Toronto and The Ottawa Hospital will receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to health care workers who are providing care in hospitals and long-term care homes.
It’s expected that the pilot will help inform the province’s preparedness plan to receive larger vaccine quantities as it moves forward in Phase One, providing the opportunity to test the logistics of delivery, reconstitution of the vaccine, clinic management, and post-vaccine surveillance. The pilot also affords the opportunity to learn from the experiences of those being immunized so lessons learned can be shared with sites that will receive the vaccine in the coming weeks and months.
The two locations were selected for the pilot because this will test the travel logistics in two different regions of the province. In addition, these sites already have the equipment necessary to safely store the Pfizer vaccine at -70 C and the trained staff to handle the vaccine. Since this vaccine cannot be transferred beyond the initial delivery location at this time, vaccinations will be administered to health care workers in high-risk areas, such as long-term care and critical care units in the Toronto and Ottawa regions.

  • Phase One will continue with the following key milestones:
    • Based on per capita allocations, an expected 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses received from the federal government will be delivered to up to 14 hospital sites in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones in December, to vaccinate health care workers in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors.
    • Deliveries of an expected 35,000 to 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, once approved, will enable vaccinations to be expanded to long-term care homes in the Grey-Lockdown areas.
    • In early 2021, expansion of additional hospital sites providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones, with continued vaccination provided to health care workers and, with the appropriate safety protocols, to long-term care home and retirement home residents.
    • It is anticipated that by end of January over 20 hospitals across the province will be administering the Pfizer vaccine.
  • An expansion of the number of locations to administer the Moderna vaccine would include long-term care homes, retirement homes, public heath units, other congregate care settings for seniors, and remote Indigenous communities.
  • Phase Two:
  • When an increased stockpile of vaccines becomes available to Ontario, the province will shift to Phase Two of its vaccination implementation plan, which is expected to begin later in the winter of 2021. During Phase Two, vaccinations will be administered to health care workers, as well as to residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes, to home care patients with chronic conditions and to additional First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit individuals.
  • Phase Three:
  • Ontario will enter Phase Three when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wishes to be immunized. While vaccines will not be mandated, during Phase Three, people will be strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
  • The province’s decision to identify key populations to receive the vaccine first is based on the advice of medical experts and ethicists, recommended by the Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and aligned with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendations.

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages (and subscribe) and, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — that are updated as new information becomes available.
A consolidated page for information and updates on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is available at
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at
To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.
We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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