The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge region on Monday.

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrive in local health region

By Mike Baker

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit received its first allocation of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday evening, with staff planning to start vaccinating residents of the area’s long-term care homes this week.

The local unit received 700 doses of the Moderna vaccine, with more potentially on the way next week. The vaccines are being stored at Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, and will be delivered to long-term care homes by the local health unit.

“This is the day we have been waiting for,” said Dr. Ian Gemmill, acting medical officer of health for the HKPR district health unit. “We have been working with our local hospital partners and our long-term care and retirement homes to work out the logistics of getting this vaccine into as many arms as quickly as possible.”

It is expected that between 100 and 150 vaccinations will take place each day over the course of the next week, with residents of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Hope Street Terrace in Port Hope and Maplewood Long-Term Care Home in Brighton were among the first group to be vaccinated.

As of press time, there was no word on when the first doses may arrive in Haliburton.

“Unfortunately, we know that what we have received will not ensure that all of our long-term care residents are vaccinated with this week’s supply,” Dr. Gemmill said. “We have had to determine priorities about which [homes] gets the vaccine first, and we are hopeful that we will soon receive more vaccine so we can complete the immunization of residents and staff of both our long-term care homes and retirement homes.”

There are approximately 1,600 residents living in long-term care homes across the region, with more than 2,000 staff working at those sites.