By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
CK Public Health is waiting for the provincial government to give the green light on the next round of individuals set for vaccinations. In the meantime, doses sit in reserve.
“The ministry has not authorized any health units at this current time to go beyond residents in long-term care facilities, high-risk retirement homes, and Indigenous elder care centres. Those are the only groups that are authorized to give new first doses to right now,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health.
Colby said there are a “fair number” of public health units that also have vaccines in reserves that are not being used at the moment.
“And we’re not happy about that. We want to get that into people’s arms just as soon as possible,” he said.
Chatham-Kent has officially vaccinated all the residents in its long-term care homes and its four high-risk retirement homes, save one. Fairfield Park in Wallaceburg, which is currently in outbreak status with 55 active cases, is the only exception.
“As soon as that outbreak starts to really get under control – and the numbers of new cases have slowed very markedly so that shouldn’t be very long – we’ll get a team in there and get people vaccinated,” Colby said.
Vaccines are currently being held in reserves for Fairfield Park’s first round of doses.
The Delaware Nation is set to vaccinate all residents at the Elder Care Centre in Moraviantown on Tuesday.
However, because of recent issues with supply throughout Canada, there is concern about running out of vaccines for the people who need boosters after their first dose. Colby said they can be given no later than 42 days after the first dose.
“That’s why it’s been difficult to get word on allocations because they’re making sure all health units are able to boost anyone that got a first dose,” Colby said.
To date, 850 residents have been given their first round. With Fairfield Park, that number would boost to more than 900 doses needed in reserve for the second round.
Also to date, more than 62,000 long-term care residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 34,000 residents have received their second dose throughout the province.
The Ontario government has not yet stated what the next steps were for the vaccination process.