First high-risk Bluewater Health employee gets COVID shot

Bluewater Health administered its first COVID-19 vaccine to Emergency Department nurse, Fred Osmon. Photo submitted by Bluewater Health.

An emergency department nurse was the first high-risk hospital worker at Bluewater Health to receive a COVID-19 shot Tuesday.

63-year-old Fred Osmon has been working at both the Sarnia and Petrolia sites throughout the pandemic.

He said he was honoured to have the opportunity.

“It’s a start to keeping my family, my colleagues, and my community safe,” said Osmon. “The pandemic has been a significant strain on all healthcare workers, and I know that we are excited to see the vaccines rolling out here. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Communications Chief Julia Oosterman said they’ve set up a clinic to rollout the Pfizer vaccine to high-risk hospital workers and physicians, over the next four-to-five days, until their first supply is used up.

“We’ve had individuals working in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), working in surgery, working in the emergency departments of both of our hospitals,” said Oosterman. “It’s coming to the high-risk employees of the hospital first and then it will be rolled out as per the province’s process to other employees in the weeks and months ahead.”

Oosterman said while some people are nervous about getting the vaccine, just like you would find in the community, the majority, are thrilled.

“There’s one woman who works in infection control and she’s been out in the long-term care homes helping with infection prevention. She’s seeing all different people and she texted me this morning at 7 a.m. and said she was literally skipping down the hall.”

Oosterman said employees who don’t come face-to-face with patients are not scheduled to get vaccinated at this time.

“The one benefit of being a little bit later than the rest of the province in getting the vaccines is that we’ve had the advantage of seeing what the vaccine impact has been in other communities. By and large we know that there are minimal to no side effects at this point. People are feeling positive and they’re really feeling like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Sarnia-Lambton was one of the last communities to receive the vaccines, and all available appointments were booked within 48 hours.