Lambton’s top doc wants long-term care residents first in line for vaccine

A discarded medical mask is seen on the ground at Sarnia’s Northgate Plaza. Troy Shantz

Journal Staff

Sarnia-Lambton’s first COVID-19 vaccines could be here by the end of January, public health said.

“We don’t have a definitive timeline yet, but we are ready and prepared for when that happens so we can start immunizing people,” said Dr. Sudit Ranade in a media call today. “We’re already planning how to run clinics.”

Sarnia-Lambton’s COVID-19 case count continues to balloon with record numbers again today bringing total infections to nearly 1,000. 

Sixty-five new cases of the Coronavirus were added, with 34 cases resolved. There are 293 active cases. Six are in hospital and 28 have died from the infection.

“We’ve probably already crossed the thousand-person threshold,” Ranade said during the call.  

Vaccine rollout will happen within hours to when the first vaccines arrive, at the end of January or early February. Ranade said residents of long-term care and retirement homes are his top priority. But the sub-zero storage requirements for the Pfizer vaccine will make it difficult.

Ranade predicted that more and more vaccines will be approved shortly which will change the game very quickly. Newer vaccines, including the recently approved Moderna shot, don’t have the same storage demands the Pfizer vaccine does.

The rapid rise in cases, which makes Sarnia-Lambton the third highest in Ontario for infection per 100,000 people, is still coming from socializing, Ranade said.

“We’re still fairly confident in saying those are the main drivers of transmission,” said Ranade. “The times when people let down their guard and are in situations where they’re intentionally social with other people.”

These include gathering in homes and at workplaces, he added.