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Richmond long-term care homes to be vaccinated by week's end

Richmond's medical officer said priority vaccinations went to facilities where there were large outbreaks.
minoru residence
Minoru Residence long-term care home in Richmond.

Vaccinations will be completed at all long-term care facilities in Richmond by the end of this week.

This includes residents, staff and essential visitors, explained Meena Dawar, Richmond’s medical health officer.

Other top priorities in Richmond include those working in emergency rooms and intensive-care wards, Dawar explained at the Richmond Community COVID-19 Task Force on Tuesday.

The Pfizer vaccine arrived in B.C. two weeks early in mid-December, she said, and VCH received 2,000 doses in the first week.

The first vaccine in Richmond was given to a long-term care worker on Dec. 22.

The priority was to get vaccines to facilities where there were large outbreaks, for example, Minoru Residences and Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge, Dawar said.

Richmond North Centre MLA Teresa Wat said she’d been approached by two independent living facilities in Richmond, one run by the Richmond Kiwanis Senior Citizens Housing Society as well as Grace Seniors Home who hadn’t received any word on when they would get vaccinations.

“Of course, they are quite anxious,” Wat said about the latter facility.

Assisted living facilities and independent seniors homes will be vaccinated later as they are lower on the priority list.

VCH will then start vaccinating seniors in the community after facilities are covered – most likely still in the first quarter of the year - starting with those older than 80 and moving down in age by increments of five years.

Eventually, COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be set up in the community.

It appears the vaccines that are currently arriving should be effective also for the new strain of the COVID-19 virus, which was detected on Vancouver Island in late December.

“The vaccine should work - at least at the moment, there is no information that the vaccine will not work on the new strain,” Dawar said.