The first supply of a COVID-19 vaccinate arrived for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit on Monday.
The health unit says it received nearly 700 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and may receive more next week. The vaccine will be first delivered to long-term homes for residents with the aim to meet the province’s goal of having all long-term care and retirement home residents vaccinated by Feb. 15.
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 in the health unit’s jurisdiction, which includes the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Haliburton County.
As of Monday, the health unit reports 99 active cases of COVID-19 including nine active outbreaks at long-term or retirement homes.
The health unit notes it was originally expecting to receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine. However, after last week’s announced Pfizer delivery delay, the delivery was changed to the Moderna vaccine.
“This is the day we have been waiting for,” stated Dr. Ian Gemmill, the health unit’s acting medical officer of health. “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.
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.”
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, the health unit notes.