COVID update has mayor giving sober message about slow vaccine

·3 min read

Eganville – A COVID-19 update will all 444 mayors in the province has left Bonnechere Valley Mayor Jennifer Murphy relaying a sobering message the pandemic is not being vanquished in the province any time soon.

“This is all going to be about managing expectations,” she said during a ZOOM committee meeting of council last Wednesday. “I don’t want people thinking they are all going to get vaccinated January 3rd.”

A conference call with all mayors, the premier, senior ministers and General Rick Hillier, who is handling the vaccine delivery in the province, showed it will be a long time before all residents in the province will be vaccinated, she said.

“General Hillier was so up front and honest,” she told the Leader. “It will not be done tomorrow. It will not be done by January 1st.”

The conference call was on December 8 and she said it was very informative.

“He took us through the three phases,” she said. “We are in Phase One.”

The mayors were told to manage expectations among their residents about when the province would receive enough vaccine for everyone. “I can tell you this first Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at -75,” she said. “So it has to be done at special vaccination centres.”

She said the mayors were told there would be 23 vaccination centres in the province for the Pfizer vaccine.

“You can’t just take it to a long-term care home,” she said.

As well, with the Pfizer vaccine there are two vaccines 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is more mobile, she said.

“There will be some education along with people getting vaccines,” she said, referring to the double vaccination schedule with the Pfizer vaccine.

In the rollout of the vaccines, the province is starting with front-line workers and long-term care homes in more urban centres, she said.

“That will be the last part of 2020,” she said.

Phase 2 starts in April and will last for six to nine months and then in late 2021 Phase 3 will be brought in.

“That will be part of the normal vaccination routine,” she said.

As well as the rollout of the vaccine there are security issues the province is dealing with, Mayor Murphy said.

“Evidently these vaccines will flow out through the health units and hospitals,” she said. “We are not sure about the per capita distribution of vaccine.” The mayors also discussed issues of public trust in the vaccine.

“It seems 65 per cent of the Ontario population would take the vaccine if it was proven,” she said.

There have been news reports from the United Kingdom about Bells Palsy reactions and anaphylactic shock as well, she noted.

“I understand as of yesterday the UK revealed there is a second strain,” she said. “I hope it never gets to us.”

Mayor Murphy said the call was quite informative and it appeared most of the province’s heads of municipalities took part.

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader