Quebec is on the brink of accessing and administering long-awaited vaccines against the novel coronavirus starting with a long-term care home in Montreal, where residents and families are eager for the rollout to begin.
The Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Côte Saint-Luc, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic’s second wave, is among the first health-care institutions to gain access to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
A note to families issued Friday by Maimonides says vaccination is likely to begin early next week as the centre awaits the arrival of shipments.
On Thursday, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal had said the rollout could begin early as this weekend. The health authority says it received “100 positive replies” from families within three hours of contacting them about the inoculation plan.
For residents like Beverly Spanier, the beginning of inoculation can’t come soon enough. The 75-year-old says she’s anxious to roll up her sleeves and receive a first dose.
“I am most looking forward to making sure this vaccine works so everyone else can take it so the entire society can return to normal,” she said.
Maimonides has been ravaged by the virus in recent weeks. In late November, 20 residents were transferred to Montreal hospitals after the virus took hold and the health authority closed a hot zone to contain the spread.
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Like residents, families with loved ones who live at Maimonides say they are anxious for the process to begin.
“I am super excited in about six weeks from now I can say my dad has made it through the pandemic,” Joyce Shanks said.
Under Quebec’s inoculation plan, Maimonides one of two CHSLDs in the province that will gain access to the vaccine. The other is in Quebec City.
The CIUSSS said earlier this week the vaccine will be administered in two doses, with the second dose coming three weeks after the first, at Maimonides. In the meantime, other public health measures will remain in place at the long-term care centre to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Health Minister Christian Dube said Friday that while the shipment of doses has not yet arrived, he says “we will be able to be able to vaccine the minute we get them.”
— With files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier, Amanda Jelowicki and The Canadian Press