Personal support worker is 1st person in Ottawa to get COVID-19 vaccine
Vaccinations went smoothly on Tuesday, city on track to deliver all 1,500 1st doses by Friday
Jo-Anne Miner, a personal support worker at St. Patrick's Home of Ottawa long-term care home, was the first person in Ottawa to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
About 100 long-term care home workers were due to be inoculated Tuesday at The Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus. A total of 1,500 workers at 10 care homes across the city will be vaccinated by Friday, hospital officials said Tuesday.
"This is going to help create a safe space for me and my colleagues, as well as the residents who live in St. Patrick's Home," Miner said in the statement.
"It has been a challenging year for so many people living and working in long-term care, and this is an important step [toward] us being able to keep everyone in our homes and throughout the community safe."
A shipment containing 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19 arrived in Ottawa on Monday. Recipients must get two doses 21 days apart for full protection.
The Ottawa Hospital said staff will have to come to the hospital to get their shots because it has the equipment to store the vaccine at –70 C and the staff to administer it and can't yet bring it to people.
Anthony Di Monte, the city's general manager of emergency and protective services, said Tuesday it's still unclear when residents of long-term care homes will be vaccinated.
No adverse reactions
By mid-afternoon, The Ottawa Hospital said it was on track to meet its goal of 100 vaccinations by day's end, and said none of those inoculated so far had reported adverse reactions.
"Everyone was fine and quite happy to have gone through the process," said Joanne Read, executive vice-president and chief planning officer with the hospital, during a virtual news conference.
Some of those first 100 said they'd encourage colleagues to get vaccinated, Read said. On Tuesday, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) unveiled a new website aimed at quelling concerns about the new vaccine.
Dr. Vera Etches, the city's medical officer of health, said OPH staff have been meeting with care home workers to try to answer their questions, but so far any hesitancy hasn't affected uptake.
"I do encourage anyone in the general public who has questions about the vaccine to check our new website," Etches said. "We know people will have questions and we're here to answer them."
Read said the first 1,500 people to get vaccinated will be another helpful tool in encouraging the public to roll up their sleeves when it's their turn.
"I think as we get more people vaccinated with the doses that we do have and they start to communicate and people see from them that it is OK ... I think that will also help in addition to all the facts that are being published as well," she said.
Common side effects of the vaccine include a slight fever, tiredness and a sore arm near the injection. Serious allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis are very rare.
with files from CBC's Laura Glowacki