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Long term care and retirement homes receive COVID-19 vaccine

January 22, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Retirement home residents in Simcoe Muskoka will begin receiving the Pfizer-BoNTech vaccine after the provincial government determined the vaccine can be safely transported to Long Term Care and retirement homes in the Region.

The immunization program began on Monday, January 11, in Barrie, at Victoria Village Manor. Resident Pat Sinclair, a former nurse, became the region’s first long-term resident to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m thrilled to be able to do this. I’m hoping it gives me and my family that feeling of we’re okay, we’re going to be okay. We’ll get through this,” said Ms. Sinclair.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on both the residents and employees in long-term care and being able to offer the protection this vaccine provides to those who are the most vulnerable is a critical milestone,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. (SMDHU) “We are hoping everyone who opts for the vaccine within our LTC and RH communities to have received it over the next two weeks.”

The pilot immunization program began with 111 residents from Victoria Village Manor and 67 residents at Oak Terrace Long-Term Care Home in Orillia receiving the vaccine.

Supply of the vaccine remains limited and at this time is being offered by appointment only to priority groups identified by the provincial government, including residents, staff and essential caregivers from congregate living settings as well as prioritized hospital workers.

Staff at all four Simcoe County long term care homes, including Simcoe Village and Manor in Beeton, have already starting receiving the vaccine after attending inoculation sites in Barrie.

Of the 1.000 care givers who work at the facilities, about half had already received the vaccine as of Friday, January 15.

A spokesperson for the County of Simcoe confirmed residents at Simcoe Manor started receiving the vaccine on January 16. Vaccinations are not mandatory for residents, however they are given information to help them make an informed decision.

Some residents are considered at risk when it comes to receiving the vaccination due to other health related issues.

​As additional vaccines are approved by Health Canada, and as part of Ontario’s three phase immunization plan, vaccine distribution will be expanded to other priority groups and then to the general public.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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