The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) in partnership with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) and Long-Term Care Homes reached a major milestone this week with 95% of long-term care home residents in the Thunder Bay District having now received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and many having received the second dose of the two-dose series.
This accomplishment was enabled when the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) received a shipment of Moderna vaccine in the past week allowing first dose vaccinations for Long Term Care (LTC) residents in the District communities in the TBDHU Catchment area. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is also being administered to LTCH residents in Thunder Bay who received their first dose with this vaccine three weeks ago.
“This is a major step towards protecting Long Term Care homes and the residents and staff from the potentially devastating impacts of COVID-19 within these settings,” said Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health, TBDHU. “It’s also a success to be able to extend protection against COVID-19 beyond Thunder Bay and into the district communities. There is a lot more to do but we should celebrate this significant accomplishment. ”
“We can certainly appreciate the frustration and anxiety people have felt with the Pfizer vaccine slowdown that impacted the entire country,” said Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, TBRHSC President and CEO. “We are very proud that despite temporary setbacks with vaccine shipments, we have succeeded in administering first and second doses to LTC residents within the Ministry’s target time frame. In addition to LTC residents, protecting access to second doses for those who have already received their first dose is our top priority.”
While the focus currently is on the long-term care homes, planning is also underway regarding other vulnerable settings including retirement homes and congregate settings housing seniors and high risk health care workers. As part of the larger roll-out for the TBDHU area, Public health is actively engaging partners, including District and First Nation partners, in the development and implementation of the broader plan. This planning work also includes the opening of vaccination clinics in our area. Further details will be provided as this unfolds.
TBDHU continues to encourage everyone to follow all public health measures to protect the health of individuals and our health system. If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, even mild ones, isolate immediately and arrange to get tested at your local assessment centre.
Visit the TBDHU Website for more information or contact TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or toll-free: 1-888-294-6630.
To learn more about Ontario’s phased plan for vaccine distribution, please visit the Province of Ontario website.