A dose of good news: First local vaccine arrives

By Roderick Benns

Put your name on a standby list for vaccine doses

The local health unit today received the first local allocation of COVID-19 vaccine and is rolling out its plan to start vaccinating residents of the area’s long-term care homes this week.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) has received 700 doses of the Moderna vaccine and may receive more next week.

Following the roll out plan put forward by the province, the health unit will be delivering the vaccine to area long-term care homes so that residents can be vaccinated as soon as practical. The province announced today that it has revised its goal and is aiming to have all residents of long-term care and retirement homes vaccinated by Feb. 5.

“This is the day we have been waiting for,” said Dr. Ian Gemmill, acting medical officer of health for the HKPR District Health Unit. “We have been working with our local hospital partners and our long-term care and retirement homes to work out the logistics of getting this vaccine into as many arms as quickly as possible.”

The vaccine was delivered to the Ross Memorial Hospital, which has agreed to receive and to store the health unit’s vaccine. From there, health unit staff will deliver the doses to area long-term care homes where residents will be vaccinated. It is expected that 100 to 150 vaccinations will take place each day in long-term care homes throughout Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

“Planning for this vaccine has been a tremendous effort involving all of our partners working with our staff, and we appreciate everyone’s support as we roll out the vaccine,” Gemmill said.

Residents of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Hope Street Terrace in Port Hope and Maplewood Long-Term Care Home in Brighton are among the first group to be vaccinated. Additional vaccination clinics will take place in the other long-term care homes in the area over the course of the next couple of weeks.

“Unfortunately, we know that what we have received will not ensure that all of our long-term care residents are vaccinated with this week’s supply,” Gemmill said. “We have had to determine priorities about which LTCH gets the vaccine first, and we are hopeful that we will soon receive more vaccine so we can complete the immunization of residents and staff of both our long-term care homes and retirement homes.”

Key Points:

– The health unit was originally expecting to receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine. After last week’s announced Pfizer delivery delay, the health unit delivery was changed to Moderna.
– The vaccine is packaged in 10-dose units and once the package is opened, all vaccine must be used as it cannot be refrigerated or stored again.
– There are approximately 1,600 residents living in area long-term care homes and more than 2,000 staff working in long-term care homes.

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