P.E.I. long-term care residents receiving 3rd COVID vaccine this week
'There is actually quite a bit of excitement'
Residents in P.E.I.'s long-term care facilities have begun receiving their third shots of the COVID-19 vaccine this week.
Last month, Canada's vaccine advisory body recommended the third doses for seniors living in long-term care homes and other congregate-care settings. The recommendation does not apply to seniors living independently in the community.
The Mount received its vaccine doses for its 110 residents late last week and started administering them Monday.
"So far it's going well. We're into Day 3 of administering about 13 doses a day," said Lindsay Dickieson, administrator at the Mount Continuing Care Community in Charlottetown.
"We're just taking it day by day in small groups, just to see if there are any side effects with the vaccine with our residents."
Different situation, different distribution
Unlike the first and second doses of the vaccine — which were administered in part by public health nursing during a mass effort in a single day — the Mount and some other facilities have decided to space out the immunizations.
Dickieson said the present scenario is different for a variety of reasons. Residents are already considered to be fully vaccinated, making protecting them from the virus less urgent than it was during the second wave.
A study released in March revealed that deaths in nursing homes in the first year of the pandemic represented 69 per cent of Canada's overall COVID-19 deaths, but deaths and hospitalizations among seniors began to drop "dramatically" as COVID-19 vaccinations ramped up.
"Looking at the COVID situation on P.E.I., we felt that this was a good option for us," said Dickieson on the third dose rollout.
"It is only going to take us about seven or eight days to do it this way, so it will still all be done fairly quickly."
Now that it's here, they're excited to be on the list and to get it done.— Lindsay Dickieson
The Mount is also giving many residents their flu shot at the same time.
Dickieson said many residents are eager to get their third vaccine dose.
"They've heard about it on the news, they've heard about it nationally … so now that it's here, they're excited to be on the list and to get it done," she said.
"There is actually quite a bit of excitement."
'I was waiting for it'
Residents at Whisperwood Villa in Charlottetown started receiving their third doses on Thursday, and, like at The Mount, they were eager to get their shots.
"I was waiting for it," said Jimmy Gallant from Charlottetown. "16 months in here is, you know, kind of tiresome.
"They did what they're supposed to do, knock on wood, no cases."
He said his quality of life has improved since getting his vaccine. It means visitors can come and go, and residents can leave the facility.
"Now you're able to go outside and go shopping with your family, or go out to a family place and have dinner," Gallant said.
"You don't have to be back until 8 o'clock."
George Gallant, originally from South Rustico, agrees.
"There was a wedding of one of my grandchildren, got married in Halifax, and they all mostly came over here after, " he said.
"They came in to see me and [my wife]. So that was good, something we couldn't do before."
George also said he thinks its important everyone get vaccinated.
"There's no reason in the world why you cannot get the vaccine," he said. "We know it's going to be better. So we'll take it."