After weeks without a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Chatham-Kent and Lambton County received their first vials of Moderna on Monday just as both regions have started to see an uptick in cases.
The regions are part of 12 other public health units across the province that were expected to receive doses by the end of the week.
Shortly after the shipment arrived, long-term care residents in Chatham-Kent rolled up their sleeves and were inoculated with the first dose of the vaccine, according to Chatham-Kent Public Health.
The first to receive it was Bill Breedon, a resident at Riverview Gardens long-term care home in Chatham.
"I'm very grateful to be the first resident at Riverview Gardens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. I am saying yes to the vaccine for health reasons; I have a history of strokes and want protection from the disease and the severe symptoms that can come aong with it," said Breedon in a news release.
Chatham-Kent Public Health wouldn't disclose how many doses of the vaccine it received, but said it would provide updates as it continues to vaccinate locals.
"This is the shot in the arm we have been waiting for," said Lori Marshall, CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, in a news release.
"This initial rollout is a major turning point for us in the pandemic; we've seen rising cases in our own community and increased hospitalizations. The vaccine is critical to help save lives and protect hospital services."
As of Monday, Chatham-Kent has 103 active cases. Five people have died in the region since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, high-risk retirement home residents and long-term care residents in Lambton will start getting vaccinated on Tuesday as the region received 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine, Lambton Public Health said in a news release.
"We're very excited to receive this first shipment," said Dr. Sudit Ranade, the region's medical officer of health, in a news release. "This is a game changer for our community."
The health unit said it will use its Lambton COVID-19 Immunization Task Force to build a vaccination strategy for the region, adding that another shipment of the vaccine is expected to arrive the first week of February.
As of Monday, Lambton has 159 active cases and the region has had 35 deaths since the start of the pandemic.