By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Almost half of Chatham-Kent’s long-term care home staff turned down the chance to get the COVID-19 vaccine after it was offered to them in Phase 1 of the local rollout plan.
“The uptake in long-term care workers is a lot less than what I would have hoped for,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, noting that the number of long-term care employees inoculated was around 50 per cent.
“I’m really hoping that that number goes up substantially.”
Colby said stories about countries suspending the use of certain vaccines have increased vaccine hesitancy among the general population. Most recently, some countries in Europe announced they were temporarily halting the distribution of the one-shot AstraZeneca vaccine after noticing some blood clots in patients.
Health Canada issued a statement earlier in the week stating there were none of the identified batches in Canada.
Colby added that the incidents may not have been linked.
“People who had been vaccinated with AstraZeneca had no higher chance of getting blood clots than the general population, and there’s nothing to indicate that that’s causal,” he said.
“Public Health England, Health Canada and the World Health Organization have all certified that these blood clots were not above the baseline level.”
Colby said the vaccine uptake of workers at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s two hospitals and in the general population has been much higher than 50 per cent.
“I’m hoping that the long-term care workers realize that the people that they’re looking after, who are vaccinated, are doing very, very well, and are healthy and happy. And that they decide that they’re going to get it as a result of that,” Colby said.
As of Friday morning, CK Public Health reported that 15,845 doses of the COVID-19 had been administered in Chatham-Kent.