Vaccine shots cancelled for LHSC staff as focus shifts to long term care

Local and provincial vaccination efforts are turning to residents of long-term care homes, and hospital staff in this region who haven’t already gotten their shots have been told they will not be getting inoculated against COVID-19 anytime soon. 

The province now wants all long-term care home staff and residents vaccinated by Feb. 15. Essential caregivers in long-term care and retirement homes will get their shots after that. 

The London Health Sciences Centre, which oversees the vaccination efforts for the London Health Sciences Centre and hospitals in the Southwestern Public Health and Huron Perth Health Units, has told its doctors and nurses it is pausing all vaccination efforts for hospital staff effective immediately. 

“The death rate among (long-term care) residents exceeds 23 per cent and resident deaths account for nearly 60 per cent of all COVID-19 related deaths in Ontario,” Neil Johnson, LHSC’s chief operating office, wrote in a staff memo Wednesday afternoon. 

All hospital vaccine appointments, which are filled at the Western Fair Agriplex, will “temporarily cease,” Johnson said, except for second-dose appointments. 

“We appreciate this will be disappointing for many in our hospital environment,” Johnson said. “As more vaccine becomes available and as the priority populations are completed, this situation will be reevaluated.” 

This week, the Middlesex London Health Unit started vaccinating residents of long-term care homes, starting with Onedia long-term care on Monday, Country Terrace on Tuesday and Chelsey Park yesterday. 

The Agriplex will continue to serve as a vaccination site but work at the facility will be reduced because of the shift in focus, Johnson said. 

London expects to get 4,875 doses each week for the next three weeks (including this week), LHSC said earlier in the week. 

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