Paramedics vaccinating homebound residents

By Chad Ingram

Haliburton County paramedics began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to homebound patients and their caregivers last week.

As paramedic chief and EMS director Tim Waite told county councillors during an April 28 online meeting, on Tuesday, April 27, paramedic staff began administering shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents with mobility issues that prevent them from easily leaving their homes.

As Waite explained, on Friday, April 23, his department had a meeting with representatives of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge district heath unit about enacting the vaccinations, and received a list of homebound patients from home and community care organizations. The county paramedic service used its own list of community paramedicine clients as a starting point.

“We also learned on Friday that we had secured some Moderna vaccine in place for this program,” Waite said, explaining a training package had been put together during the weekend.

“We decided that if there were essential caregivers in the home, with the homebound clients, that we would deliver the vaccine to them, as well,” Waite said. “And part of the reasoning for this is, once we puncture the stopper of the Moderna vaccine, we have six hours to deliver the vaccine. So, we can get 10 doses out of the bottle, and if we’re really good, we can get 11, and so to make 10 stops in our large county … we thought it might be difficult to do that in a six-hour window … So one stop may give two vaccinations.”

Waite also explained the department had to have its fridge inspected and tested, ensuring it could provide seven days of stable temperatures before receiving the vaccine.

Teams of paramedics were assembled on Monday, and scheduling completed, and 11 vaccinations administered on April 27. Waite said that on Thursday, April 29, vaccinations were going to be administered to the rest of the clients his department currently had on its list.

“I do expect to receive more clients,” Waite said, adding he expected more names of homebound patients to be submitted.

“We have the process in place now, we know what we need to do,” he said.

“It’s good news, and I know that will alleviate concerns of a number of seniors and their family members,” said Algonquin Highlands Deputy Mayor and County Warden Liz Danielsen.