FoM residents help The Ottawa Hospital deliver the city's first COVID-19 vaccinations

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Author: Faculty of Medicine, Marketing and Communication

Resident administering COVID-19 vaccine.

Seven medical residents from the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine participated in administering Ottawa's first doses of COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at The Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

At 8 a.m., Jo-Anne Miner was the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Ottawa. Jo-Anne is a Personal Support Worker at St. Patrick’s Home in Ottawa, and was the first of 100 people to receive the vaccine in the first day of vaccinations.

“I’m proud to be a part of this day, and excited to be receiving the vaccine,” said Jo-Anne Miner, Personal Support Worker, St. Patrick’s Home. “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. It has been a challenging year for so many people living and working in long-term care, and this is an important step towards us being able to keep everyone in our homes and throughout the community safe.”

Dr. Lorne Wiesenfeld (right) stands beside Mr. Hiep Trieu, manager of the Real Canadian Superstore (Westboro). The store donated food and drink for staff, volunteers, and front line workers at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Dr. Lorne Wiesenfeld (right) stands beside Mr. Hiep Trieu, manager of the Real Canadian Superstore (Westboro). The store donated food and drink for staff, volunteers, and front line workers at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic. 

In the coming days, many more Faculty of Medicine residents will be aiding in the vaccination effort at The Ottawa Hospital, as 3,000 doses of the vaccine are administered to 1,500 people who are staff at long-term care facilities throughout the city. The vaccine site is located at the Civic Campus.

Residents in Anesthesia, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hematology and Rheumatology participated in the first day of vaccinations, and those from other specialities will follow in the days to come

"We had to turn down many gracious offers to volunteer from other residents, as spots are full," said Dr. Lorne Wiesenfeld, vice-dean of Postgraduate Medical Education. 

After Health Canada approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and all the necessary trials were completed, Ontario moved to rollout the vaccine to those at highest risk. The Ottawa Hospital is working closely with Ottawa Public Health, long-term care homes in the area, and other regional health partners to facilitate logistics of getting LTC staff to the vaccination site safely.

“Today is a monumental day in our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, and protect the community,” said Joanne Read, Executive Vice-President & Chief Planning and Development Officer, The Ottawa Hospital. “Our hospital is delighted to be part of this unprecedented effort. Now that we have a safe and approved vaccine, we can start the process of protecting the most vulnerable people from COVID-19.”

This rollout is meant to test the logistics in two different regions of the province — Ottawa and Toronto — and determine how to best distribute the vaccine. The Ottawa Hospital has the equipment necessary to safely store the Pfizer vaccine at -70C and the staff to handle the vaccination roll-out. This vaccine cannot be transferred beyond the initial delivery location at this time.

COVID-19 vaccine. Photo courtesy The Ottawa Hospital

Photo credit : The Ottawa Hospital

The decision to vaccinate health-care workers who work in long-term care homes first follows the Province of Ontario’s roll out plan to vaccinate residents across the province. This includes the decision on who should get the vaccine first, based on who is most vulnerable and where the greatest risks are.

Although the news of a vaccine is extremely positive, it is critical that we all continue to follow public health advice to help keep everyone safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

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