Vaccines for LTC homes

·2 min read

MIDDLESEX - Some hopeful news, COVID-19 vaccines have made their way to long-term care homes in the County. During the first two weeks of January, Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) staff along with paramedics attended all long-term care homes. Next will come high-risk retirement homes, says the health unit.

Dr. Alex Summers, Associate Medical Officer of Health at MLHU, says uptake was overall good, though the choice was left up to the residents. An exact number of doses administered could not be provided. Some staff received the vaccine, too, depending on how much supply was left over at the end of a visit. MLHU plans to return to long-term care homes in approximately three weeks to administer the second dose of Pfizer vaccine.

Originally, focus was on healthcare workers. About 80-90 staff members at the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital and the Four Counties Hospital received their first shots at the Western Fair Agriplex. Remaining scheduled vaccinations are to be completed, but as of Friday, 22 January vaccinations at the Agriplex have halted due to supply problems.

MLHU has made the decision to postpone second shots until 42-days after the initial shot while they wait for additional supply. They say the efficacy will remain significant, over 90%, despite being double the 21 days which was originally specified by the vaccine manufacturer.

The Strathroy hospital has four ICU beds, and ventilators on-hand for each bed. Rosemary Frketich, Vice President of Clinical Services & Chief Nursing Officer, explains that beds are becoming a shared provincial resource as hospitals in some parts of the province reach capacity. The Strathroy hospital has not yet sent patients away.

A Covid-19 outbreak was declared in the hospital on 15 January 2021, with just one case in the second floor inpatient unit. The unit was closed to new admissions, and sanitization enhanced as a result.

McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner