Kawartha health unit hopeful to meet long-term care vaccination deadlines

·2 min read

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is confident they will be able to get all long-term care home residents in the area vaccinated quickly.

“I think with the second shipment [of vaccines coming], [the February 10th deadline] is going to be easy to meet,” Dr. Ian Gemmill, the Acting Medical Officer of Health, told reporters on Wednesday, February 3rd.

Recently, the local health unit received their first shipment, about 700 doses, of the Moderna vaccine, which were put towards long-term care homes. They expect to receive another batch of doses to continue the effort early this week.

Dr. Gemmill listed off a number of long-term care homes which received the vaccine, including Hope Street Terrace, one of the Caressant Care homes, Extendicare Haliburton, Maplewood Long-Term Care Home, Warkworth place and Pinecrest Nursing Home.

“The immunization rate was over 90 percent in all, and at 100 percent or close to it in most. Those are the ones that have been done. [All the other long-term care homes] will be on the list for the next shipment we are hoping to get either on the weekend or early next week. We want to get this part done, because that is going to provide the initial protection. It’s also going to be critically important to get the staff and the essential caregivers done,” he explained.

During the week of February 22nd, the health unit expects to have enough doses to start immunizing long-term care staff and essential caregivers.

While the health unit and health professionals work on immunizing residents, Dr. Gemmill urges people to follow provincial and local COVID-19 restrictions.

“Everybody needs to do their part by respecting those restrictions until [the] immunization [process] is completed. Then we can gauge what needs to be in place, and what [measures] we can relax, so we can try to get back to normal in some way or other,” Dr. Gemmill said.

The acting medical officer is optimistic about being able to hit the Canadian government’s target of having everyone who wants a vaccine immunized by this fall.

“I’m still hopeful that by the Autumn of this year, life will be better, life will be getting closer to normal,” Dr. Gemmill stated.

Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper