Wikwemikong Nursing Home first in district to receive vaccine

·3 min read

The Wikwemikong Nursing Home on Manitoulin Island will be the first facility in the Sudbury district to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Duke Peltier, Chief of Wiikwemikong Unceded Territory, confirmed that staff and residents at the home will receive the Moderna vaccine later this week.

“I am very excited along with the nursing home staff and residents being selected as part of a priority rollout of the vaccine program within Ontario,” said Peltier in a Facebook live video streamed on Tuesday.

“We’re very excited to have an opportunity to protect our most vulnerable here in Wiikwemkoong as well as protecting our language speakers that we have in the home. We will be working with the nursing home this week to ensure that they have a fully supported administration of the vaccine.”

The Moderna vaccine was approved by Health Canada on Dec. 23, 2020, for individuals 18 and older, and it is considered safe and effective.

Using messenger RNA technology, the vaccine teaches our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response. These proteins are called spike proteins.

Once made, these spike proteins are recognized by our immune system as foreign and our system starts to create antibodies to clear our bodies of the foreign material. These antibodies help fight the infection if the real virus does enter the body in the future.

The vaccine is given by an injection to the arm, and it requires two doses given within a month of each other.

Based on the studies to date, it has been determined that the effectiveness of the Moderna vaccine is 94.1 per cent about 14 days after receiving the second dose.

Side effects, which are mostly experienced after the second dose, include pain at the injection site, redness and swelling at the injection site, headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain or fever and chills.

Ontario has so far received 175,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and is scheduled to receive 240,000 more doses in the next three weeks, which equals to about 80,000 per week.

The province also received 58,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 28 and an additional 56,000 on Jan. 11.

Public Health Sudbury and Districts said that the organization is supporting Wiikwemkoong in this “historic moment,” and working with them on the vaccine rollout, but the initiative is being led by a local clinic.

It is not yet known if and when other retirement homes or long-term care facilities in the region will receive doses of the vaccine.

In an email, Public Health Sudbury and Districts said the Province of Ontario identified the Wikwemikong Nursing Home to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Public Health said it has the "leadership for the COVID-19 vaccination program overall and is working collaboratively to ensure Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory receives the COVID-19 vaccine."

It also said it "has been extensively planning and working collaboratively with community partners to ensure that we are ready for vaccine whenever it arrives" for other parts of the region.

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @SudburyStar

Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star