Waterloo Region completes first-round vaccination of all long-term care and retirement home residents

Posted on Monday January 25, 2021

Waterloo Region – Waterloo Region has completed first-round vaccination of all eligible local long-term care and retirement home residents. This milestone was achieved by re-directing as much of the region’s limited vaccine supply as possible to vaccinate residents as quickly as possible.

With today’s announcement of further reductions in vaccine supply, vaccinations will continue to focus on second doses as well as patients in hospital waiting for transfer to hospital or retirement home settings. Vaccinating these patients will improve health system flow by ensuring patients are vaccinated before their transfer and can receive their second dose alongside other residents in the home.

“I am incredibly proud of the work of our partners in vaccinating residents as quickly as possible,” said Shirley Hilton, Deputy Chief for Waterloo Region Police Service and lead for the Waterloo Region Vaccine Distribution Task Force. “With information changing daily we are pivoting as quickly as we can and making the best decisions possible with the information we have at the time. We are grateful to our partners at the provincial and federal governments who are working to secure vaccines for our communities.”

Today, the Ontario Government also released a new directive regarding timelines for second doses. The directive requires long-term care and retirement home residents to receive their second dose within 21-27 days and all other groups, expand the interval to no more than 42 days.

On January 12, National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated their recommendations on the use of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines, indicating that within certain contextual circumstances, the dose interval could be increased up to 42 days. This is supported by recommendation from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.

Based on vaccine shipment information received to date, the task force is confident it can meet these targets with intermittent pauses of the clinic at Grand River Hospital.

Vaccines are being administered to priority groups in the first phase of a three-phased provincial distribution implementation plan. The first phase prioritizes health care workers, essential caregivers, long-term care home and retirement home residents. Planning and outreach to leaders in First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit adults is also underway as part of the first phase of rollout. Scheduled clinics for the broader community will not begin until Phase 3 which is anticipated to begin later in 2021.

Members of the public are asked to continue following public health guidelines to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading in the community. More information on how you can protect yourself and others can be found on the ROW Public Health website.

More information and regular updates on the work of the taskforce are available on the Region of Waterloo’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Taskforce Webpage.

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