No arrival date for COVID vaccine, Colby hopeful it could arrive by end of month

·2 min read

While Chatham-Kent does not have an arrival date for the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. David Colby is hopeful it could arrive by the end of the month.

According to Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, he has a strong indication that COVID-19 vaccines will be arriving in the region by the end of the month.

Colby said he is in constant contact with ministry officials, and the more he gets and the sooner he gets it, the happier he’ll be. He added his team is ready to roll the vaccines out immediately, and the first doses will go to long-term care facilities.

According to President and CEO of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Lori Marshall, her team is also ready to go.

Colby said the province is trying to get more vaccines as the supply is low. As it stands, the vaccine has gone to areas with the largest number of cases, such as Windsor-Essex County. However, Colby said he keeps reminding the province that seniors in Chatham-Kent are at risk too.

According to the area’s top doctor, Colby said people would be notified through local media and social media to inform them when it is their time to get the vaccine, noting the public shouldn’t expect a mass email campaign. Regardless of no email campaign or sign up format, he added he’s not worried about people skipping the line to get vaccinated when it’s not their turn as he’s confident in knowing all the necessary controls will be in place.

“When we get to the mass vaccination stage, we certainly will be looking whether people are qualified to get theirs,” said Colby. “There will be a point when everybody is welcome to get it. Most people are equipped with identification documents that would allow verification.”

He also noted that people should not be hesitant to receive the vaccine as it is safe, and shortcuts were not taken to create the vaccine.

Although Colby is optimistic of the vaccine’s arrival in CK, he added we must be vigilant, and we cannot let our guards down. He also added the number of local unknown case exposures makes him nervous because he doesn’t know the source.

As of Jan. 7, CK Public Health reported 21 cases with unknown exposures and eight with information still pending. Ninety-eight of the 142 active cases are close contacts of other cases. Colby also noted 90 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Chatham-Kent involve contacts in other places, such as Windsor-Essex.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News