Salvation Army resident feels 'relief' after getting COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccinations are getting into the arms of some of the most vulnerable people in Saskatoon.

On Wednesday, the Salvation Army Crossroads Residential Services on Avenue C South held its first vaccination clinic.

Executive director Judy Regamey said having vaccines available to a communal living setting is critical to keep residents and staff safe, as the virus continues to claim lives.

“When you’re working in a facility like this and somebody tests positive, it kicks us into a whole other mode, because we have to isolate people and so we have to deliver their meals we have to deliver their meds, and they’re not happy about having to stay in their room,” Regamey said.

“We’ve had three outbreaks here so you know it does make it more tense … it feels now, like we can breathe.”

Saskatchewan Health Authority staff, armed with 90 first doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, inoculated most of the staff and residents at the shelter, including 63-year-old Henri Regamey.

“I feel a sense of relief and emotions. I’m excited, I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Regamey told CTV News. “It’s become a big thing in the lives of so many people and I think about all the people that passed away, my heart goes to their families and I’m so grateful.”

On Tuesday, Lighthouse Supported Living held its first vaccination clinic, innoculting 215 people ranging from staff, residents and Community Support Officers. Anna Pacik, fundraising and communications manager, said she’s thrilled to see vaccines prioritized to Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable people.

“It’s such a vulnerable population to begin with and to be able to offer them this immunity support really says a lot about how our province cares for our folks,” Pacik said.

“We’re still on high alert because of our COVID protocols, but we’re really grateful, we can almost see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) is just days away from launching a four-month vaccination site at SaskTel Centre, according to Chief Mark Arcand.

The STC is already accepting registrations for vaccination appointments, set to begin April 6, with special attention being given to Indigenous people. (https://www.sktc.sk.ca/)

“We’ll have an elder on site for smudging or if individuals want to speak to an elder, we can support them that way,” Arcand said.

The plan is to distribute up to 200 vaccines per day, but the number can increase depending on the number of appointments, Arcand said.

The STC is following the age-restrictions set out by the SHA.

On Wednesday the SHA opened up vaccinations to people 60 years and older.