Canada’s national vaccination campaign to stop the spread of COVID – 19 began on Monday with joy and relief, while hundreds of Quebec nursing-home workers went into the shot as challenges to the mass vaccination plan surfaced.
Giselle Levsque, 89, who lives in a nursing home in Quebec City, did not fly as she received her needle at 11:25 a.m. Shortly afterwards, Gloria Lallouz, 78, arrived at a nursing home west of Montreal with her Pfizer-biotech dose. Anita Quidanzen, a Toronto personal support worker who has worked with seniors since 1988, received the vaccine later in the afternoon.
“I’m happy, I’m fine,” Ms Lallouz told reporters gathered outside her nursing home after her shot. “I was stuck in my room for eight months. Eight months, without leaving my room. Hope everybody on this site also had a great day! It is important to live again. ”
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said she overheard Mrs. Lalouz explaining her desire to find her life once again. Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubey, he was also choked.
The campaign to bring the vaccine to 38 million people in Canada began Monday at a rate of six per hour in four locations in Ontario and Quebec.
This week Quebec received 4,875 doses and Ontario received 6,000 doses. Each Quebec site plans to inject 150 injections on Monday and up to 500 per day, starting with five vaccinations in Toronto, Ontario. Other parts of the country are expected to start vaccinating people later this week.
In Montreal, Ms. Lalouz and 326 residents of the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Center in Montreal enthusiastically welcomed the vaccine, but workers proved even more reluctant. According to Francine Dupuis, associate chief executive officer of the West-Central Health District on the island of Montreal, 95 percent of residents sign up, compared to only 35 to 40 percent of the home’s 500 workers.
“They are not against it, they are skeptical. They do not want to be the first,” Ms Dupeis said. “They say, ‘Yes, but not now. We’ll wait for the next wave when we see how people respond.'”
Mr Dubey said he was not worried. “I don’t think we should read those numbers too much,” Mr. Dubey said. “We see a lot of enthusiastic people in the first groups. I hope more will sign up in the coming weeks.”
According to a poll from the Angus Reed Institute, people are more interested in getting vaccinated quickly. The results, released Monday, show that 48 percent of Canadians want to be vaccinated as soon as possible, up eight percentage points from a month earlier. Seventy-nine percent of Canadians say they will be vaccinated sooner or later, an increase of three percentage points from a month earlier.
Noni McDonald, a professor at the University of Dalhousie who has done research on vaccine safety and policy, said some people are hesitant.
“For the new, it’s technology, health care intervention, a different car, whatever, there are early recipients, and there are people who want to wait and see. I’m not surprised there are some health care workers who want to wait and see, ”Dr. McDonald said. She said she was shocked to see this number because vaccination is an important way for workers working in health care facilities to protect themselves.
The Federal Public-Health Agency is planning an educational campaign for the new year to target priority groups. Spokeswoman Natalie Mohammed said the campaign would cover TV safety, the regulatory process and the need to adhere to public health advice to limit the spread of COVID-19.
That campaign should target Canadians where their information is available, Dr. McDonald said.
“Seniors are not in Tic Tac Toe,” Dr. McDonald said. “So how I want to reach a person who is 20 to 30 years old is very different from how I want to reach a person who is over 80 years old.” Similarly, some new Canadians and refugees are less likely to trust the government message, so this campaign should be followed, she said.
Federal officials could not give an exact timeline for the arrival of 249,000 doses by the end of this month. Canada will receive 30,000 doses this week, but officials are less sure about the 30,000 scheduled for next week.
Major-General Danny Fortin, who heads the logistics for Canada’s public health agency, said, “We do not expect 30,000 next week. But at the moment, I’m not ready to talk about exact numbers.”
Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antonio said: “We are committed to providing the volume with full commitment and meeting the requirements of Canadian vaccination points by the end of this month.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has warned Ontarians about the long road, urging people to follow public health rules at this time. “It’s a watershed moment – the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic,” Mr Ford said.
The province hopes to vaccinate 2,500 health care workers in hospitals and long-term homes this week and save the rest of the vaccine to the required second dose in three weeks. The Ontario vaccine went to the University of Toronto Health Network and The Ottawa Hospital.
Quebec plans to give its first shipment the first dose, focusing on nursing home residents and workers.
BC, Alberta received 3,900 doses each on Monday. BC will be held Tuesday at two sites in the Vancouver Coast and Fraser Health areas, while Alberta will be held on Wednesday at two hospitals in Edmonton and two in Calgary.
BC Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry said the vaccine would be available to health care workers at nine sites next week and plans to expand to 30. Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro predicts his province will have eight vaccination sites in the coming weeks.
Manitoba is expected to receive 900 immunizations from Wednesday. The first group is mainly older health care workers. As of Monday, 668 health care workers had booked appointments, Premier Brian Polyester said.
With the Andrea Woo report
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