CK could get COVID-19 vaccine by end of January

A public health nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health says he has a strong indication that COVID-19 vaccines will be arriving in the region by the end of the month.

Dr. David Colby told reporters on Thursday he is in constant contact with ministry officials and the more he gets and the sooner he gets it, the happier he’ll be. Colby said his team is ready to roll the vaccines out immediately and the first doses will go to long term care facilities. The CEO of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) Lori Marshall added that her team is also ready to go.

Colby said the province is trying to get more vaccines because the supply is low. He added the vaccine has gone to areas that have the largest number of cases but keeps reminding the province that seniors in Chatham-Kent are at risk too.

As far as knowing when it’s your turn to get the vaccine when it gets here, Colby said people will be notified through local media and social media. Dr. Colby told the public they shouldn’t expect a mass email campaign. He added he’s not worried about people skipping the line to get vaccinated when it’s not their turn because he’s confident in knowing that all the necessary controls will be in place.

“When we get to the mass vaccination stage, we certainly will be looking whether people are qualified to get theirs. There will be a point when everybody will be welcome to get it,” said Colby. “Most people are equipped with identification documents that would allow verification [of all necessary information, such as address].”

Colby said just because the vaccines are near doesn’t mean we can let our guard down and added the number of local unknown case exposures makes him nervous because he doesn’t know the source.

On Thursday, CK Public Health reported 21 cases with unknown exposures and eight with information still pending. Ninety-eight of the 142 active cases are close contacts of other cases. Colby also said 90 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in CK involve contacts in other places, such as Windsor-Essex.

Colby insists people should not be hesitant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 because the vaccine is safe.