Shelters, others in group setting begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine
'Some of our clients are quite vulnerable to any infections and things like that'
Staff and residents of group homes and shelters on P.E.I. say they are relieved to begin receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
They are part of P.E.I.'s vaccine rollout that includes people living in congregate environments.
The 16 staff and two residents at Anderson House Emergency Shelter received their first doses Tuesday.
Danya O'Malley, executive director of P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services, said staff at Anderson House have worked hard to keep COVID-19 away with extra cleaning protocols and other measures, but with a shared kitchen and dining room, there's only so much they can do.
"When you have people from different social circles, different families, different workplaces all living together in one place, it's very difficult to not have them share germs, and have close contact with one another," she said.
"And we're doing intakes all the time of new individuals. Who knows where they've been?"
Clinics are being set up at facilities across the Island where a mix of people all live together, including the Stars For Life building in Charlottetown, where housing and day programs are offered to adults on the autism spectrum.
More than 50 clients and staff got their first doses Tuesday.
"Some of our clients are quite vulnerable to any infections and things like that," said executive director Ron Casey.
"Definitely if it came into the building, take Newfoundland, look how it's spreading over there. So if it were to get into one of our buildings, it'd go fairly quick."
O'Malley said the high turnover at shelters can make vaccination a challenge.
"Our residents today are not our residents next week and not our residents at the end of March. So I think there needs to be some sort of plan to regularly vaccinate those living in these kinds of situations, all the shelters."
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With files from Steve Bruce