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Retirement community staff, designated caregivers first to get COVID-19 vaccine
Fred Sherwin
Jan. 9, 2020

Dozens of local retirement community workers and designated caregivers have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with many set to get their second dose this week.

Reporting by the Orléans Star has discovered that retirement community staff started receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 20, one week after the first doses started arriving in Canada from Cologne, Germany.

The Royal Garden Retirement Community confirmed that 85 per cent of their staff have received the first dose of the vaccine. The Riverbend Retirement Community, Symphony Senior Living Orléans and Chartwell Belcourt have all reported a similar number of staff receiving the vaccine or higher, while relatives of residents in Alavida Promenade say staff their have been vaccinated as well.

Retirement community staff and family members designated as caregivers had to go to the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus to receive the vaccine. This is because the Pfizer-BioNTech vacine has to be stored at extremely low temperatures which can only be achieved using special freezers.

On Tuesday, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) received news from the Ontario Ministry of Health that the vaccine could be moved off the Civic Campus to be administered to residents at area long term care and retirement homes which have been given priority based on a provincial ethical framework.

On Friday, OPH released a list of 28 long term care and retirement homes whose residents will be the first to get the vaccine. Two long term care facilities in Orléans is among those listed along with the Sarsfield Colonial Home (#27). They are the Madonna Care Community (#11) were 47 residents and two staff have died since the pandemic began, and the Résidence Saint-Louis (#6).

Residents at the first four homes on the list received their first dose this week. Residents at the Résidence Saint-Louis should receive their first dose next week along with the residents at the Madonna Care Community, although they may have to wait until the following week. If all goes well, residents at the remaining senior care facilities should start receiving their first dose in-house by January 25.




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