Jeff Green | Feb 17, 2021

The vaccine program in the rural parts of Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) was slow in getting started and has gone dormant, due to a lack of vaccines, with only Pine Meadow Nursing Home residents and staff being on the receiving end of the needle.

Late last week, residents and staff at Fairmount Home received their second dose.

Dr. Kieran Moore, the medical officer of health, indicated in January that Senior's Residences, such as Brooks Landing in Perth Road, Country View Care in Godfrey and Sharbot Lake Retirement, are a priority, once the long term care home and health care worker cohorts are completed.

The next priority group, says the Province of Ontario, will be seniors, starting with people who are over 80 years old.

According to an email from KFLAPH, “the immunization strategy incorporates a variety of clinic types to be accessible to everyone in our communities. All clinics are designed to be flexible and scalable, to match provincial distribution of vaccines (Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines; others are anticipated) to our area. Currently, vaccine delivery is unpredictable, but we anticipate roll-out will speed up significantly in March 2021.”

The KFLAPH strategy includes mass immunization clinics at two sites in Kingston and one in Napanee, and plans are being developed for hospital clinics to immunise prioritised health care and essential workers.

To serve the rural areas, two strategies are being developed.

The first is a rotating, rural, remote site that will operate out of Family Health Teams, partnering to provide the service in rural northern areas.

The second are mobile, strike teams, to go to identified sites, in order to support immunization in congregate, care settings.

This is a similar approach to the one that public health has been using in long-term care and retirement home settings.

“KFL&A Public Health is fortunate to be working with diverse partners (e.g., municipalities, Indigenous partners, first responders, health sector partners, Addictions and Mental Health, and many others) across our region to get clinics up and running. It truly is a whole of community effort,” said Suzette Taggart, Communications Manager with KFLAPH.

Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith, who is also the long time Board Chair and acting administrator (on a volunteer basis), at the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team, said that township staff and health team staff are beginning to plan for a roll-out in the township.

“We have a model to work from, since we held a very successful flu shot clinic in Sharbot Lake in the fall. The township fire department, paramedics, community groups, and the family health team all worked together. We might be able to use that as a model, but we will have to look at locations and other factors if we are going to do something in April, which is when Public Health expects to be ready with a supply for us to use.” she said.

The differences between the flu shot clinic and the vaccine are significant, however, particularly as the target for the first mass vaccination program is the over 80 and over 70 population, many of whom will not be able to attend drive through clinics on their own.

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.