Cross-border worker feels 'blessed' to receive COVID-19 vaccine

·2 min read

While Windsor-Essex saw the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out on Tuesday, some health care workers who work on the other side of the border got a bit of a head start.

Krista Wahby, a critical care pharmacy specialist at the Detroit Medical Center's Harper University Hospital, received the vaccine on Friday afternoon.

"I feel very lucky and blessed to be one of the first to get it," she said.

The LaSalle resident said she felt "maybe a little tinge of guilt" to be receiving the shot before others in the region but she works with high-risk patients and wanted to keep them as well as her family safe.

Though the vaccine has brought hope after a "terrible year," receiving it hasn't changed much for her daily life and work.

"We still have to mask, that's very important, and we still have to social distance — those are things that are proven to work and we have to keep doing that," she said.

Hospitals can't say how many Canadians received vaccine

It's not clear how many cross-border workers have received the vaccine already.

In statements to CBC News, both the Detroit Medical Center and the Henry Ford Health System couldn't say how many of their Canadian employees have gotten the shot.

"We have 950 team members who live in Canada and work at Henry Ford. We are not tracking vaccinations by a team members' residence, a spokesperson for Henry Ford said.

Vaccinations are not mandatory at either facility, and an employee's place of residence is not a factor in whether they receive the shot, according to the hospitals.

Vaccinations begin in Windsor-Essex

Katerina Georgieva/CBC
Katerina Georgieva/CBC

Earlier this week, Windsor-Essex received its first batch of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. Officials said the supply is enough to vaccinate about 2,000 people, starting with workers in long-term care homes.

The first person to receive the shot on Tuesday was Krystal Meloche, a personal support worker at a retirement home in Belle River.

Meloche's father contracted COVID-19 and died from the illness.