COVID-19 vaccine rollout expands in the Ottawa Valley with calls for patience
Health care workers received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Almonte General Hospital on Thursday. (Dylan Dyson/CTV News Ottawa)
ARNPRIOR -- Erica Ray was among many of the front line health care workers to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the new clinic at the Almonte General Hospital.
"I feel a sense of relief after that," says Ray.
"I’ve been working with the Almonte Hospital doing COVID swabbing for the last 11 months, and we’re all pretty tired. I have a big sense of relief getting the vaccine today."
The Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark Health Unit opened the new fixed vaccination site Thursday, putting shots in the arms of health care workers who are in direct contact with high-risk people.
"Right now we’re entering into stage two, which is ensuring that that high-risk health care worker group as well as the essential care givers are all vaccinated that are in the long-term care homes," says Jenny Vandermeer, the operations manager for the fixed COVID-19 vaccination sites with the LGL Health Unit. "Once we get through that group we’ll be rolling into the 80-plus group."
For those in the younger age brackets wondering when their turn will come, Vandermeer says that timeline is tougher to predict.
"We can only plan a couple weeks in advance right now with what supply we know is coming in."
That’s the same situation in Renfrew County according to acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Cushman, who says the region’s rollout isn’t far behind their neighbour’s.
"We’re finishing up long-term care residents with their second shot, and giving staff and family members providing essential care their first shot over the next five days," says Cushman. "Clearly we’re vaccine dependent, I mean we can’t vaccinate anyone without vaccine supplies."
At the Grove Nursing Home in Arnprior, Judith Gilchrist says there’s been many questions and enquiries as to when the next round of vaccines will be arriving.
"Next week we will have plans in place for the staff, we’re just working out the final details of that right now," says the vice-president of long-term care at the home. "I can see the sense in the residents. I have one residents who every day is talking about when he is getting his next needle."
But with a long term timeline still unclear, Dr. Cushman is asking for patience from those in the Ottawa Valley.
"Whether you get the vaccine on day 10 or day 80; if you behave yourself and you’re young and healthy, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference."