'We are ready' Niagara officials expect first COVID vaccine doses to arrive tomorrow or Wednesday

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Officials in Niagara believe the first delivery of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine will arrive tomorrow or Wednesday.

Niagara Health and Niagara Public Health and Emergency Services has issued a joint statement saying they are prepared to get doses into arms as soon as the shipment arrives.

“We have planned aggressively and are well prepared to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine in Niagara,” says Lynn Guerriero, President and Interim CEO of Niagara Health. “With rising numbers of COVID-19 in the community and in the hospital, the vaccine will help us save lives, protect our hospital services and beat this pandemic. Every vaccine dose in an arm reduces the risk of the virus spreading in our region.” 

Niagara Health will begin vaccinating front-line healthcare workers in long-term care (LTC), high-risk retirement homes and the hospital at a vaccine clinic at the St. Catharines Site, followed by NH clinics opening in Niagara Falls, Welland, and/or other sites. 

At the same time, Public Health will deploy small teams to long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes to support their staff vaccinating the residents under their care. 

“It is a relief that vaccines are finally arriving in Niagara. Throughout this pandemic, residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes have suffered the brunt of this pandemic,” says Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner (Acting), Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services. “Almost 80% of those who’ve died in Niagara—150 people in our community—have been among these residents; 72 of them have died in the last 3 weeks alone. Vaccine will let us immunize these residents and their care providers, and begin to end this tragedy.” 

Groups to receive doses will continually expand over the coming months.