SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT
All eligible long-term care residents across Simcoe Muskoka have been offered and the great majority have accepted and received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine along with some employees and essential caregivers at the homes.
With the government’s direction that the Pfizer vaccine could be safely transported, immunization immediately focused on the region’s long-term care homes.
The LTC immunization roll-out began Jan. 11 and in less than a week 3,545 people in 30 LTC homes were vaccinated by mobile teams from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) in collaboration with Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH). The next phase of the vaccination roll-out includes more than 3,000 residents in the region’s 52 retirement homes over the next 10 days.
“This is a significant milestone in our immunization roll-out plan,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “By vaccinating residents of long-term care homes and residents in retirement homes we are taking another important and critical step in the fight against COVID-19. Getting the vaccine to those who need it most as quickly as possible will save lives.”
The COVID-19 Immunization Clinic in Barrie, a partnership between SMDHU, RVH and the City of Barrie, opened Dec. 22, 2020. Since then, between the Barrie clinic and the mobile clinics, 12,885 (as of Jan. 17) doses of the vaccine have been administered to long-term care and retirement home residents, employees and essential caregivers and prioritized hospital workers.
“The rapid immunization of our most vulnerable residents could not have been completed so efficiently without the support of many community partners including doctors, nurses and paramedic services in both Simcoe County and Muskoka who stepped up to help,” said Janice Skot, RVH’s president and chief executive officer.
“I must also applaud the hard work of staff at both the health unit and RVH for their roles in coordinating and implementing this important immunization.”
Once supply and delivery of the Pfizer vaccine increases, the immunization plan will continue to be rolled-out to other priority groups, including Indigenous communities and healthcare workers.
The public is reminded that during the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine it’s important that everyone continue to strictly follow public health measures to reduce and prevent transmission of the virus: Wear a mask, physically distance from those outside your household, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you are sick, and get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms.
For more information, visit the health unit’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunization web page or call Health Connection to speak with a public health professional weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520). More information about the vaccine and immunization can also be found at ontario.ca.