Local health unit to begin bringing vaccines into LTC homes following successful pilot that inoculated 178 residents in Barrie and Orillia

Until now, vaccination only occurred at clinic in north Barrie by invitation

Long-term care home residents throughout Simcoe and Muskoka will soon see COVID-19 vaccines coming to them.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) announced on Tuesday it has been given the green light to transport the Pfizer vaccine into long-term care and retirement homes in the region. Residents can expect to begin receiving the vaccine next week.

To kick off the immunization of residents in their homes, the SMDHU held a pilot vaccination clinic locally. 80-year-old Pat Sinclair (pictured above) became the region’s first long-term care resident to receive her vaccine while in her home at Barrie’s Victoria Village Manor. “I’m thrilled to be able to do this. I’m hoping it gives me and my family that feeling of we’re okay, we’re going to be okay. We’ll get through this,” said Sinclair. There were 111 residents at Victoria Village and 67 at Oak Terrace Long-term Care Home in Orillia to receive the shot through this pilot.

Public health nurses and registered practical nurses from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, including (LtoR) Penni Sisak, Kim Lafreniere, Denise Lacroix, Shawna Frolick and Charlotte Knegt (front), as well as Shelley Murphy, Pharmacy Manager, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (right) were a part of the COVID-19 vaccination of residents of the Oak Terrace Long Term Care in Orillia on Monday.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on both the residents and employees in long-term care and being able to offer the protection this vaccine provides to those who are the most vulnerable is a critical milestone,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “We are hoping everyone who opts for the vaccine within our LTC and RH communities to have received it over the next two weeks.”

To date, the vaccine has only been administered to priority groups by invitation to the COVID-19 clinic in north Barrie. Over 8,100 doses have been administered to long-term care and retirement home employees since it opened on December 22.

Feature and body images courtesy Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit