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All Durham long-term care residents receive COVID-19 vaccine

Dorothy Nancarrow, a resident at Orchard Villa, was the first resident to receive the vaccine. (Photo courtesy Lakeridge Health)

All long-term care residents in Durham Region have now received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Durham Regional Chair John Henry says having long-term care residents protected means being one step closer to ending the fight against COVID-19.

“Thank you to the incredible team at Lakeridge Health for everything you have done, and continue to do, to keep or community safe,” says Henry.

Lakeridge Health and Durham Region Health Department worked to prioritize vaccinations for high-risk populations in Durham after the province announced a disruption in supply in January.

Residents at regionally owned and operated long-term care homes, including Fairview Lodge, Hillsdale Estates, Hillsdale Terraces and Lakeview Manor, received their second dose the first week of February. The first dose was administered on Jan. 14, ahead of the Jan. 21 provincial deadline for long-term care home vaccinations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected our most vulnerable population who reside in our long-term care homes,” says Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region’s medical officer of health. “This vaccination is a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel, but we must remain vigilant until the vaccine is available for the broader population.”

The province is leading the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines across Ontario through a three-phased implementation plan.

Currently, Ontario is in Phase 1, which began in December 2020 and includes distribution of the vaccine   to residents, staff essential caregivers, including family, and other employees in 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; and adult recipients of chronic home health care.

Phase 2 is expected to begin in March 2021, depending on vaccine availability, in which another approximately 8.5 million people will be vaccinated.

Groups eligible for the vaccine as part of Phase 2 include older adults, beginning with those over the age of 80; people who live and work in high-risk congregate settings; frontline essential workers, including first responders and teachers; those with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers; and other populations facing health barriers.

Phase 3 is expected to begin around August 2021 and includes all remaining Ontarians.