By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
Available COVID vaccines are being distributed despite recent shortages.
Not long after the first COVID-19 vaccines became available and were distributed, earlier this year Pfizer announced they were shipping about 80 cent per less vaccines over the next few weeks, as it completed upgrades to its manufacturing plant in Belgium. Moderna also announced in January they would put out 20-23 per cent less product. The delays in vaccines meant many provinces, including Alberta, suffered from shortages and Alberta stopped administering the first dose of the two-shot vaccines.
Currently, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the only ones approved for use in Canada.
Under the province’s roll-out plan for the vaccine, many health care workers, staff in longterm care and designated supportive living facilities, paramedics and emergency medical responders and all residents of LTC and DSL facilities are eligible to get the vaccine under Phase 1A of the roll-out, which began this past January.
“Alberta has now administered 124,325 doses of vaccine. Currently, first doses of the vaccine have been offered to 100 per cent of residents in long-term care and designated supportive living. To-date, about 27,000 — 96 per cent — of these residents have received the first dose. Those who were not healthy enough or able to receive it when offered are being provided with the vaccine, as soon as possible,” said Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications for Alberta Health. “About 63 per cent of residents in long-term care and designated supportive living (have) now been fully immunized with two doses.
“We would like to offer the vaccine to many, many more groups, but are receiving only a very limited supply. As the supply of vaccines increases, we’ll be able to expand our approach.”
According to the Alberta Health Services website, last update onFeb. 9, Phase 1B, which was scheduled for February 2021, would see seniors over 75 years old and First Nations, Métis and persons over 65 years old living in a First Nations community or Metis Settlement become eligible for a vaccine. Eligible groups for the Phase Two roll-outs were not yet announced.
Good Samaritan President and CEODr. Katherine Chubbs said all eligible residents, who have given consent for both the first and the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Good Samaritan Garden Vista in Magrath and Good Samaritan Prairie Ridge care homes, are DSL4/4D facilities. AHS has also been working with staff members directly for their vaccines, and while Chubbs says they don’t know how many have received it, all have been offered the first dose.
“Our partners at AHS determine vaccine priority, and we are working with them to facilitate the immunizations,” said Chubbs. “To-date, all eligible, consenting residents have received their vaccinations in the required timeline. We are grateful so many of our residents and employees have now had the opportunity to be immunized.”
Kim Schnoor, CAO of the Chinook Foundation, says the Chinook Lodge in Cardston, a Level 1-3 facility, has seen 52 of their 60 residents receive their second dose, with having received their firstdose. Four residents were offsite during the time vaccinations, although they will receive their dose when able, and three chose not to be vaccinated at this time. All staff were encouraged to receive the vaccine.
However, residents at the Diamond Willow Lodge in Magrath, which provides Level 1-2 accommodation with home care providing scheduled care requirements if needed and is not a contracted partner site, have not been provided with an opportunity for vaccination.
“We are pleased with vaccinations provided at Chinook Lodge on behalf of both residents and staff,” saidSchnoor. “Many residents at Diamond Willow Lodge are anxious to receive vaccinations and frequently ask rescheduling, which we of course have no controlover. Many residents are concerned regarding the potential risks of infection without vaccinations, in their congregate living setting, in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.”