New Brunswick

COVID vaccine will roll out Friday at Shannex Parkland Saint John after all

Residents at Shannex Parkland Saint John will start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on-site Friday, even as the sprawling retirement-nursing home complex grapples with 25 active cases.

2 of the Tucker Hall nursing home units that reported positive cases still won't be included

Days after reporting three COVID-19-related deaths, Shannex Parkland Saint John has been put back into the vaccination queue. Residents in most of the sprawling retirement-nursing home complex will start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine Friday. (Google Maps)

Residents at Shannex Parkland Saint John will start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on-site Friday, even as the sprawling retirement-nursing home complex grapples with 25 active cases.

Portland Court, which recently reported a positive case, and Lily Court, where three COVID-infected residents died this week, are both still excluded from Friday's vaccine campaign.

Margo Emrich said she's thrilled to know her 91-year-old mother, Anne Disher, a resident of Simms Court, will soon be getting her first dose.

"It's a huge, huge relief to know that the process has started. I'm so happy," said Emrich.

Emrich also expressed sympathy to the families who will have to wait.

Earlier this week, Public Health said it would not vaccinate at nursing homes experiencing outbreaks.

But at a news conference Thursday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said Public Health will be accelerating efforts to vaccinate residents of long-term care homes as vaccine supply increases. This will include facilities where outbreaks are underway, with the exception of the most-affected units, she said.

Louise Mackin's 92-year-old mother will not be vaccinated because she lives in Portland Court.

Mackin says she's hoping that decision will also be reversed if COVID-19 tests conducted Thursday come back Friday showing no new cases in that unit.

Mackin says she participated in a conference call Thursday with Shannex management and got the impression that critical staff might be vaccinated if there are doses left over.

Russell says care homes experiencing outbreaks will receive vaccines

2 years ago
Duration 5:14
After saying that no one at Shannex Parkland Saint John would be vaccinated, Dr. Jennifer Russell says that decision will be reversed for three of the five residences at the complex.

Vaccine for employees 'critical'

But she says there doesn't seem to be an overall strategy for the nurses, licensed practical nurses and other employees.

"So this is something that we have to continue to fight for as well," said Mackin.

"They need to bring more vaccine to the Shannex and complete the staff vaccination because that's critical to keeping it out of there so it doesn't spread even more."

Shannex spokesperson Isabelle Landry said the company "will continue to work with Public Health to determine when our employees will be vaccinated."

Premier Blaine Higgs said a shipment of Moderna vaccine that arrived in the province Thursday will be used to vaccinate residents and staff in eight long-term care facilities in the coming days.

CUPE spokesperson Tamara Elisseou said she's been asking for an update on vaccination plans for the workers at Shannex but, as of Thursday, had not received new information.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Cave is a CBC reporter based in Saint John, New Brunswick.

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