Health Unit Administers First Dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to Over 520 People

NORTH BAY, ON – The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (Health Unit) has completed the administration of the first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Five hundred and five doses of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered to long-term care home residents, and 16 doses was administered to front-line staff in long-term care homes.

The vaccination of front-line staff at long-term care homes was done to eliminate vaccine waste. Once a vial has been opened it needs to be used within a specific timeframe and cannot be transported to a different location. The decision to prioritize front-line staff in long-term care homes over the Health Unit’s immunization staff was based on a risk assessment completed by the Health Unit’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Public Health Nurses.

Ontario’s Ethical Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution determines who to prioritize in the various phases of the vaccine rollout. The Health Unit region is currently in phase one. Once the Health Unit receives additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine priority will be given to:

  • staff, essential caregivers (including family caregivers), and other employees in long-term care settings;
  • residents, staff, essential caregivers (including family caregivers), and other employees in retirement homes and congregate living settings for seniors;
  • health care workers, including hospital employees, staff who work or study in hospitals and health care personnel;
  • adults in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations;
  • adult recipients of chronic home health care;
  • remaining residents of long-term care homes, elder care individuals and elder care staff of First Nations communities.

“The local vaccine rollout plan follows the provincial COVID-19 vaccine distribution framework, which prioritizes residents of long-term care homes,” says Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health. “We’ve seen great examples of teamwork, as vaccines are being administered as a collaborative effort between long-term care homes and the Health Unit.”

The Health Unit will be unable to reach the provincial target of February 5, 2021 to have all long-term care home residents and elder care individuals and elder care staff of First Nations communities vaccinated, due to a provincial delay in the COVID-19 vaccine shipment.

“Due to a limited supply of vaccines throughout the province and Canada, we will be experiencing a delay receiving future COVID-19 vaccine shipments. We expect the delay to only be a couple of days and we anticipate all residents of long-term care homes and elder care individuals and elder care staff of First Nations communities in our district will be immunized by February 12, 2021,” explains Dr. Jim Chirico.

The Health Unit will not be informing the public of the number of COVID-19 vaccines received or times and dates of vaccine administration in long-term care homes and for elder care individuals and elder care staff of First Nations communities due to security and privacy. Once all long-term care home residents and elder care First Nations individuals have been immunized, the Health Unit will release the information.