For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, there are vaccines stored and ready to be deployed in Huron and Perth counties.

“We’re bringing the vaccines closer to the residents, closer to the people in Huron and Perth County,” says Huron County Warden Glen McNeil.

Vials of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Huron-Perth last week, and are being stored at the Clinton headquarters of the Huron-Perth Health Unit, in an ultra-cold freezer donated by Bruce Power.

“Having it Huron-Perth is great. We’re less worried about the weather, and the longer transport. It just provides us some additional ease,” says Huron-Perth’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Miriam Klassen.

Before having vaccine in the two counties, health unit staff were driving back and forth from London on a daily basis.

“Our staff would drive to London, pick up the vaccine, and drive it to wherever we had a mobile clinic that day, so in a long-term care home. But you could only move it once, so once it’s thawed and you have that vial you have to use it all in a matter of hours. You can’t move it again, you can’t put it back in the cooler,” says Klassen.

All residents in the two counties' long-term care and retirement homes, that want to be, have been vaccinated, says Klassen. She expects they’ll be moving onto residents over 80, and more health-care workers, by mid-March, as long as vaccines keep arriving.

“The good part is the vaccines are being rolled out, and we are getting more people vaccinated all the time. And we will, so that’s the upside,” says McNeil.

You can visit www.hpph.ca to see daily case counts and Huron-Perth’s vaccination plan.