COVID-19 vaccinations underway for Six Nations long-term-care staff

·2 min read

Long-term-care homes in Haldimand-Norfolk and Six Nations are laying the groundwork for the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Staff at Iroquois Lodge, a nursing home in Ohsweken, began receiving the Pfizer vaccine on Saturday. Employees travelled to a Hamilton Health Sciences hospital the province designated to distribute vaccines to long-term-care staff.

“Six Nations is not administering vaccinations at this time but are working towards confirming the priority list, staffing, and distribution logistics,” said Candace Lickers, a spokesperson for Six Nations elected council.

Lickers said a vaccination task force that was formed in late December is busy compiling a list of vulnerable residents and determining which band members would like to be vaccinated.

“Elected council members are also participating in various provincial and federal table discussions around the vaccination rollout,” she said.

Public health’s plan for vaccine distribution hinges on the province getting the needed doses to the reserve. Lickers said council hopes to soon know more about when residents can be vaccinated.

“We are still waiting on directives from the province,” she said. “We appreciate the community’s patience during these hectic times.”

Long-term-care homes in Haldimand-Norfolk have started to get consent from residents in advance of the vaccine’s arrival.

In a recent email update, Grandview Lodge administrator Jennifer Jacob reminded residents and families that new provincial initiatives “happen swiftly and often with very little notice.”

“We anticipate that this too will be the case for vaccine distribution and subsequent administration,” Jacob said. “We want to be prepared with needle in hand when the vaccine becomes available to Grandview Lodge.”

Grandview has had two brushes with COVID-19, including a staff member at the 128-bed facility who tested positive last week and is now in self-isolation.

Jacob said it was welcome news that the province classified long-term-care staff and residents as a priority population for the vaccines.

“We have all worked tirelessly to protect our community’s most vulnerable from COVID-19 — and now there is an additional tool to keep our LTC family safe,” she said.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator