Staff and residents at the Kainai Continuing Care Centre on the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta have officially joined the thousands of Albertans to receive their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations.
Derrick Fox, chief executive officer for the Blood Tribe Department of Health, says the majority of staff members working in the long-term care department have received the Pfizer vaccine, travelling to another southern Alberta community to do so starting on Dec. 24.
“They were notified individually to go to Pincher Creek,” Fox said. “That is where the Pfizer vaccine is being rolled out.”
Along with around 30 staff who travelled for their first dose, 18 residents at the centre received the Moderna vaccine at their residence on January 1, which was delivered by Alberta Health Services.
Fox explained that because the Blood Tribe had a licence agreement with AHS it helped the centre to gain access to the vaccines quickly for staff and residents. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are administered in two doses.
“Our eldest at our care centre is 101 years old, and she was the first one to receive the vaccine yesterday,” Fox said on Saturday. “It was a very good day to begin the new year.”
Fox says the vaccine is a light for residents, who have struggled with lack of visitation and isolation during the pandemic.
“It’s been very challenging for our elders in care,” he said. “They are very anxious to see family again, so it is such a relief, and very encouraging.”
The Blood Tribe Department of Health is reviewing at-risk groups and working with the community and province to determine further priorities for vaccination, and will be providing updates to members as they become available.
More than 14,000 Albertans were vaccinated before the start of the new year.