Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/January 21, 2021 – Phase 1 of the Province’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan has officially begun in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (HPEC). Today, Hastings County, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, and Hastings Quinte Paramedic Services administered COVID-19 vaccine to 230 residents at Hastings Manor in Belleville. This significant step follows a successful pilot to bring vaccine directly to long-term care (LTC) homes in the south east region, which occurred last weekend.
As the largest long-term care home in HPEC, administering vaccine to the residents of Hastings Manor is encouraging progress in the local rollout of Phase 1. Hastings Manor is the second LTC home in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties to receive the vaccine through mobile vaccination. As current vaccine supply is limited, the initial focus of Phase 1 in HPEC is to administer vaccine to those in high risk LTC homes, starting with residents.
As HPEPH’s allocation of COVID-19 vaccine increases in the coming weeks, focus will expand to include other Phase 1 priority groups, as identified by the province. By vaccinating and protecting people in priority groups as soon as possible, the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks will be decreased among those who are at greatest risk of infection and serious illness. Community members are asked for patience and understanding as rollout plans and timing must remain flexible to adapt to the available vaccine supply.
“This was indeed a momentous day for the residents of Hastings Manor and Hastings County. We applaud the tireless work of our staff in the work they do every day to keep our residents safe and receiving the vaccine is a layer of protection we have all been waiting for,” said Warden Rick Phillips, Hastings County. “I want to extend our sincere thanks to the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health for their leadership, advocacy and partnership with our paramedic service to ensure Long Term Care residents and staff across the County get the best protection possible through a vaccination. There is much more work to do but together it will get done efficiently and effectively,” stated Phillips.
“We are working diligently to continue the rollout of Phase 1 in our region, and are optimistic we will be able to administer the first dose of vaccine to all LTC residents in the region by mid February. Vaccinating LTC residents will represent a significant milestone in our Phase 1 vaccine delivery,” says Dr. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “However, we must be patient as we expect to receive several shipments of the vaccine over the coming months, each with a limited supply. Until the majority of individuals, especially vulnerable individuals, have been vaccinated, we all must continue to do everything we can to protect one another from the spread of illness”.
Distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines is a collaborative effort. Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is part of a local vaccine distribution task force that includes Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and other public health units in South Eastern Ontario. KHSC is currently the only distribution centre of the Phizer-BioNTech vaccine in the South East region.
As the phased provincial vaccine rollout continues gradually in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, updates will be provided directly to eligible groups. Moving forward, any public updates will be posted on HPEPH’s Facebook, Twitter, and Website. In addition, the HPEPH COVID-19 Dashboard has been updated to show the number of vaccines that have been given in the HPEC region. To keep our communities safe, residents are asked for patience and continued adherence to public health measures until vaccine is available for all.
For more information about Ontario’s phased distribution plan, visit covid-19.ontario.ca/getting-covid-19-vaccine-ontario. For current information about the status of vaccine distribution in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, please visit hpepublichealth.ca/covid-19-vaccines.