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Weekend vaccinations of long-term care residents to begin Saturday

WDG Public Health will also begin offering weekend vaccinations to some frontline workers beginning Saturday or Sunday
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Sarah Ricci, program manager at Shelburne Long Term Care Home & Retirement Community, was the first to receive a Pfizer vaccine locally last week. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday file photo

Residents living in long-term care and high-risk retirement homes will begin to receive COVID-19 vaccinations beginning this weekend and a local weekend clinic will begin for frontline workers, says Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

As of Wednesday WDG Public Health has administered 1,019 of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from its headquarters on Chancellor’s Way in Guelph, exhausting the first delivered batch of 975 doses received last week. 

Those receiving the Pfizer vaccinations will have to followed up with a second shot 21 days after receiving the first dose.

The second shipment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was delivered Tuesday, said Danny Williamson, communications specialist with WDG Public Health.

Two more shipments of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been confirmed each week for the following two weeks, for a total of 6,825 doses — enough to fully vaccinate just over 3,400 people.

WDG Public Health has been averaging about 250 vaccinations per day since Thursday, but did not run clinics on the weekend. Williamson said the added supply will allow weekend vaccinations to begin this week with 1,000 people expected to each receive their first dose over Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s been somewhat slow because of the limitations of what we have received and the predictability of the delivery,” said Williamson. “I think they are trying to create a balance of not running out of supply and having to cancel peoples’ vaccinations.”

Williamson said WDG Public Health has the capacity to eventually vaccinate about 500 people at its headquarters per day.

“This will start to smooth out as we get more volume on hand,” he said.

Because the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures until it is mixed, WDG Public Health is only administering it from its headquarters in Guelph to long-term care staff and some frontline workers like paramedics and hospital staff.

Williamson said WDG Public Health is expecting its first shipment of 3,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Friday. Because it has fewer handling challenges the Moderna vaccine will be sent out to mobile vaccination clinics to eventually vaccinate the 4,000 or so long-term care residents in the area who choose to take it.

Vaccinations are scheduled to begin in long-term care homes on Friday, with Saturday and Sunday also being scheduled. WDG Public Health will move from long-term care home to home over the next three weeks or so to give the first of two shots to residents.

About 220 residents and staff are expected to each receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine over the course of this coming weekend.

A second shot of the Moderna vaccine will be required for each recipient 28 days after receiving the first dose. 

“We are working with homes and working with emergency services staff who are helping to do some of these vaccinations, there will be quite a debrief early next week as we look to understand how to optimize this,” said Williamson.

A second shipment of 3,700 Moderna doses is confirmed for the week of Feb. 1, offering enough doses to eventually fully vaccinate 3,700 people.

To date WDG Public Health has not received confirmation of deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine after the week of Jan. 25 or of the Moderna vaccine after the week of Feb. 1.

“It’s part of the struggle of high demand, low volume global pandemic is that a lot of this is just-in-time (delivery). Right now we tend to find out that it is coming the day before,” said Williamson.