Phase One of vaccinations likely done by end of March: Health Unit

Vaccine File

Phase one of the vaccination plan for Renfrew County and District will likely be completed by the end of next month. 

That's according to the area's Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Cushman, who said in an update on Wednesday that shortages have led to delays in vaccine doses reaching Renfrew County. 

"It is difficult to forecast, but we should get enough vaccines to get through phase one by the middle to end of March," he said in a statement, noting that he was optimistic but the health unit needs to be prepared for delays. 

"The uncertainty of vaccine availability and distribution continues. While it is frustrating, we ask residents to be patient during this time. We will release information on timelines and vaccine roll out as it becomes available." 

Due to shortages in vaccine supply in Canada and the province, there have been delays in vaccine rollout in the area, one because of the province's focus on hotspots and long-term care home residents, and two because of shipping issues with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

Cushman said when vaccine supplies stabilize, phase one of the area's rollout will continue, which will first consist of residents, employees, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care and high-risk retirement homes, along with adults in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations, those living in remote or isolated areas and adults who receive chronic home health care. 

He said planning is still underway for the rollout of the vaccine, despite lack of supply, to "ensure that we are ready to administer vaccinations quickly once vaccine becomes available."

So far, 396 people in Renfrew County and District have received at least the first dose of a vaccine.