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Long-term care workers receive southeastern Ontario’s first COVID-19 vaccines

KINGSTON, ON - JANUARY 12: Pharmacy staff at Kingston Health Sciences Centre prepare the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for southeastern Ontario as part of the province-wide vaccination campaign to be administered through the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Matthew Manor/KHSC)

Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) said long-term care workers were administered southeastern Ontario’s very first COVID-19 vaccines Tuesday.

KHSC received its first shipment of the vaccine Tuesday morning and said it will receive additional shipments in the coming month.

The hospital organization said it will be prioritizing residents, health-care workers and essential caregivers in long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes for the region’s first batch of coronavirus vaccines. The Kingston clinic administering the vaccines will be servicing the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington area, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark area and the Hastings and Prince Edward area.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccines expected to arrive in the Kingston region in 2 weeks

“We believe we’ll be able to provide first doses of the vaccine to over 1,900 prioritized long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents, health-care workers and caregivers throughout the southeast region in the coming days,” says Dr. David Pichora, KHSC’s president and CEO.

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Kingstone General Hospital is now equipped with two medical-grade freezers where it can store the vaccines at -70 C.

“The frozen vials are then thawed, diluted and drawn up in a syringe. Doses are registered with an expiration time, and must be used within six hours from the time of dilution to be effective,” the hospital organization said.

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The vaccines will be administered by invitation and by appointment only at a Kingston General Hospital clinic.

A task force involving all three public health agencies in the region, in partnership with KHSC, is preparing a mobile vaccination program for the residents, staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes.

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