Seniors could be vaccinated 24 hours after vaccine arrives
Heather Wright/The Independent
Lambton is ramping up to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the community’s most vulnerable people by early February.
And the Medical Officer of Health says Lambton shouldn’t jump the cue to get the vaccine any faster.
Over the past two weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in Lambton has soared, making it one of the top five hot spots for the virus in the province.
That prompted Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey to write to the premier asking for an earlier delivery date to the area.
The province used COVID-19 data from early December to determine which communities would get the first vaccines. Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex were all working toward vaccinating all long term care residents who are the most vulnerable by Jan. 21.
But Bailey noted the “meteoric rise” of cases and the fact that Bluewater Health is accepting patients from Windsor-Essex to help ease the strain on their medical system as reasons to move up the delivery of the vaccine.
“I have confirmed with Lambton Public Health and Bluewater Health that they are fully prepared to immediately begin delivering vaccines in our community. As such, on behalf of all the residents of Lambton County, I implore the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force into considering including Lambton County in the Phase One vaccine implementation plan.”
But Dr. Sudit Ranade, speaking to reporters Jan. 7, didn’t think Lambton should be jumping the cue to get the first vaccines.
“Allocation decisions are made at one time, and then the situation always changes later. But once they’ve made those allocation decisions, it can be challenging to go back and revisit them,” he says. “You’ve made promises to different communities.”
“We would hope that if a promise was made to us about when a vaccine would get here, we would hope that promise would be kept.”
Ranade says the plan to roll out the vaccine is ready and long term care residents will be first in line. He’s hoping enough vaccine will arrive in Lambton that public health and the local hospital won’t have to make decisions about which homes will receive the vaccine first.
“The vaccine implementation plan is our number one priority,” says Ranade.
“We have the knowledge and expertise to deliver this vaccine as quickly as possible, as we have done every year with the flu vaccine program, and as we worked with our partners to facilitate the safe vaccination of close to 50,000 Lambton residents in 2009 during the H1N1 Pandemic. We are working very closely with local partners to plan for secure vaccine storage, and are currently basing our plans on receiving our first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine the week of February 1.”
Ranade says long term care home residents are first in line for the vaccine. . “Long-Term Care Homes are currently gathering consents, preparing lists of staff and residents and setting up tentative appointments, so that as soon as we know when the vaccine will arrive, we will be able to provide immunizations within 24 hours.”
Public health has set up a website for people to access information about the vaccine; www.getthevaccine.ca.
Public health has not set up a waiting list for the vaccine. Ranade says it public health will be sure to communicate when it is ready and able to start vaccinating widely in the community.