With more COVID-19 vaccine shipments expected this week, the local public health agency will be initiating vaccination clinics for the next group to be completed under the provincial vaccine distribution plan.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) said in a Feb. 22 media release that it is expecting to receive more than 4,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, as well as another 1,700 doses of Moderna.

The Moderna vaccine will be used to provide the second dose to those residents of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes who had received their first dose last month.

The Pfizer vaccine will be used to vaccinate staff of long-term care and retirement homes, essential caregivers in those facilities, and health care workers in area hospitals. Persons receiving Home and Community Care, as well as other members of the community who are 80 years of age and older are scheduled to be vaccinated next, possibly beginning in March.

“We are hearing that the shipment of vaccine expected this week is the beginning of an abundance of available vaccine that will be sent out across the province,” said Dr. Ian Gemmill, acting medical officer of health for the HKPR District Health Unit. “We know that people have been anxiously awaiting their turn to be vaccinated, and I want to assure them that their turn is coming. We just all need to be patient as we receive more vaccine.”

The HKPRDHU is working with local hospitals and health care partners to vaccinate long-term care and retirement home staff, as well as the hospitals’ own staff.

Once additional amounts of vaccine are received, HKPRDHU will begin offering clinics for residents aged 80 years or older.

As soon as clinics for older adults are confirmed, and the registration process finalized, details will be provided to the community on how residents over the age of 80 years can be vaccinated, said Dr. Gemmill. 

“Our goal is to ensure that we get the vaccine into as many arms as possible, as quickly as possible,” Dr. Gemmill said. “As soon as we have the vaccine and the details for clinics, we will share that information with our residents so they can get vaccinated.”

Based on the province’s vaccine distribution plan, the next phase of vaccinations will focus on older adults living in the community under the age of 80 years and other higher risk parts of the population, and then eventually all members of the community who wish to be vaccinated.

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