Lambton will take more than a month to vaccinate the highest priority group against COVID-19: Ranade

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Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health says the community will need upwards of 12,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine just to give people in the province’s highest priority groups their first shot.

Dr. Sudit Ranade says 1,156 doses of the vaccine have already been given out in all long term care and high risk retirement homes. Public health considers a retirement home high risk if it is attached to a nursing home or if it offers dementia care.

In Lambton, Ranade says people in eight stand alone retirement homes have yet to be offered their first shot of the vaccination.

The province recently released revised guidelines of who will get vaccines first as the vaccine shortages continue. The high priority group includes;

  • Staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes, First Nations elder care homes and any residents who have not received a dose.
  • Alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have an admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home.
  • “Highest priority” health-care workers, including those who deal directly with COVID-19 patients, medical first responders, some community workers, and others.
  • “Very high priority” health-care workers, including more hospital workers and health-care workers in congregate care settings, more community workers, and others.
  • Indigenous adults in northern remote and high-risk communities.

After those groups have been complete, people over the age of 80 will be offered vaccines along with;

  • Staff, caregivers, and residents in retirement homes and other congregate settings for seniors.
  • “High priority” health-care workers, including those involved in community care with a lower risk of exposure serving both special and general populations, as well as those involved in non-acute rehabilitation.
  • All Indigenous adults.
  • Adults receiving chronic home care

In Lambton, where the elderly population is higher than most of Ontario, Ranade says that is at least 12,000 to 13,000 people. That means Lambton needs between 24,000 and 26,000 to fully vaccinate the group.

“We haven’t received anything near that,” says Ranade.

“We’re probably looking at a month or more before we finish that group…it’s dependent on vaccines.”

Ontario has now used 92 per cent of the 523,675 doses delivered to the province so far. There were no vaccines delivered to the province this week as the country continues to experience delays in shipments as the vaccine manufacturers ramp up their production.