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COVID-19 vaccines expected to start with priority groups this month in Hastings Prince Edward

Dr. Piotr “Peter” Oglaza

While it is anticipated phase one of the province’s COVID-19 vaccination plan will begin in the Hastings Prince Edward County region this month, the Medical Officer of Health states timelines regarding arrival and distribution continue to evolve as vaccine is received and transported.

Wednesday, Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) announced the first administration of COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care workers in the south east region.

As rates of COVID-19 continue to be relatively stable in HPEC, it is expected that phases will be rolled out gradually in over many months in several shipments, each with a limited number of vaccines. Larger amounts of vaccine are being prioritized to higher risk zones like grey and red that were identified before the provincial lockdown.

“Our region is not immune to outbreaks or rising case rates, and residents must not become complacent,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “I know you have had enough of the pandemic and we are all hopeful that 2021 will restore some sense of normalcy to our day-to-day lives. However, right now we must be patient and stay home as much as possible to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Phase one began in high risk areas in late 2020 and a limited supply of vaccine it to begin to be administered to priority groups in the HPEPH region in mid to late January.

“As HPEPH is alerted that shipments of the vaccine are coming to the region, we will work to ensure it is administered efficiently and equitably to priority populations,” said Oglaza. “As the goal of phase one is to reduce the number of deaths from COVID-19, those who are most at risk, and those who work with high risk individuals, are being prioritized.”

The first phase of the rollout will involve working closely with long-term care and high-risk retirement home staff and residents who will be eligible to receive the vaccine. It is anticipated phase one will also make vaccination available for hospital workers, first nations communities, and chronic home care recipients.

Phase two is to begin when an increased stockpile of vaccines becomes available to Ontario.

“During phase two, it is expected that vaccinations will be expanded to other priority settings such as congregate living facilities, older adults, frontline essential workers, and individuals with chronic conditions and their caregivers. As vaccines are being prioritized for regions with highest rates of COVID-19, we expect phase two will not begin in HPEC for some time.”

Ontario will enter phase three when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wishes to be immunized. While vaccines will not be mandated, during phase three, people will be strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Oglaza says widespread vaccination is essential to improve community immunity and end the pandemic.

“However, patience is required as vaccines are prioritized to those who need them most. By vaccinating and protecting people in priority groups as soon as possible, the possibility of COVID-19 outbreaks will be decreased among those who are at greatest risk of severe illness or death from the virus.”

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health advises residents to continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Those who feel unwell should get tested even if symptoms are mild.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere Else

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  1. Vivian Maclean says:

    I am disappointed to read that the County is low on the priority list for vaccinations as areas with high cases of Covid are being prioritized.

    What is going to happen this summer as those from these higher prioritized areas have been vaccinated and again descend on The County, while we stay home like we did last year to avoid transmission.

    Are we going to be able to keep our beaches and villages closed to vacationers and day trippers who now feel invincible?

    We followed the rules and are now being punished!

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