From left, daughter and caregiver Melanie Mitchell, St. Jacques Nursing Home resident and vaccine recipient Danielle Houle, and administrator Ginette Beaudin.
From left, daughter and caregiver Melanie Mitchell, St. Jacques Nursing Home resident and vaccine recipient Danielle Houle, and administrator Ginette Beaudin.

COVID vaccinations begin in Eastern Ontario

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
Embrun long-term care residents were among the region’s first COVID-19 vaccination recipients in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) area on Wednesday.

Danielle Houle, from Foyer St-Jacques Nursing Home in Embrun, was one of the first long term care residents to receive the vaccine. Clinics were set up in Embrun and Cornwall as the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in the region on Wednesday.

The first phase of vaccinations would prioritize residents, staff and essential caregivers at long term care homes, who were at the greatest risk of being exposed to COVID-19 or developing a severe illness from the virus. The area was expected to receive Moderna vaccines to complement the Pfizer shipments in the coming weeks.

Assistant Michelle Dufraine, St. Jacques Nursing Home resident and vaccine recipient Nicole Laplante, and EMS Tim Stewart.

EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the arrival of the vaccine was excellent news for the region. He said the rollout would accelerate as more vaccines became available, but asked residents to continue to follow safety precautions in the meantime.

EOHU employees Charles Baseka, Darleen Séguin, and Éric Boisclair prepare the vaccine clinic at St. Jacques Nursing Home in Embrun.

“The reality is that it will be a number of months before the vaccine is available to everyone who wants it,” Dr. Roumeliotis said. “In the meantime, we are seeing COVID-19 infections rapidly increasing in our area and across the country.”

There were 629 active cases of COVID-19 reported in the EOHU area on Wednesday, eight fewer than on Tuesday. Some 222 of those cases were from the Prescott-Russell area.