by Colin Smith
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held Thursday [Jan. 14] for residents of the West Country Hearth seniors’ facility in Villeneuve.
The 83 residents of the facility were slated to receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the clinic.
Seventy-five were actually vaccinated. Residents who did not receive the vaccine included three who were in hospital, two away with family and four who declined to get the shot.
“We are very grateful that our residents have been vaccinated and hopeful that staff vaccinations will happen shortly,” said West Country Hearth administrator Annette Borle. “The second dose is due between 21 to 28 days but we do not have a specific date as of yet for either the residents or staff.”
The clinic hadn’t been as West Country Hearth was earlier lead to expect it would be, and the changing information reflects the zigzags of the provincial government’s vaccination priority policy and the availability of vaccines.
According to Borle, Alberta Health Services notified them on January 5 that the clinic would take place nine days later, and all of the residents and the 73 staff members would receive the shot.
“The news brought a sense of excitement and relief for everyone, being one step closer to being COVID-free,” Borle said.
“West Country Hearth has been diligent in following all provincial protocols and we have been very fortunate not to have a COVID outbreak to date. These restrictions have been very difficult for our residents and their families and they were looking forward to the vaccination.”
However on January 12 they were informed by Public Health that only the 32 supportive living residents and 35 staff members would be immunized at the upcoming clinic.
“The remaining 51 residents were devastated by this news,” said Borle.
“We were told it is not due to a shortage of vaccines but rather a directive from Alberta Health that long-term care and supportive living residents are to be vaccinated before other seniors. However, at West Country Hearth all of our seniors live and interact together, which puts them all at the same risk.”
In a further twist, Borle received word this morning that while all residents would be able to get the vaccine, no staff members would be vaccinated.
In the end, the fact that nine residents were not immunized enabled nine staff members to receive the vaccine.
Morinville Online / MorinvilleNews.com sought comment from Alberta Health but has yet to receive a response.