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Mass COVID vaccinations to begin mid-March, says local doc

Dr. Cathy Groh says AstraZeneca vaccine may also be an option once approved
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After weeks of speculation about when and how COVID-19 vaccines will be administered in the area, Elliot Lake Family Health Team member Dr. Cathy Groh has removed some of the mystery in a social media post.

"Algoma Public Health has advised the Elliot Lake Family Health Team to plan to begin mass COVID-19 vaccinations in mid-March," Dr. Groh wrote Tuesday night.  

"As directed by Public Health the first group to get vaccinated will be those 80 and older. The vaccines will be given at Collins Hall. As soon as Public Health provides a date for the delivery of vaccine, people will be contacted with appointments.

"If they have not already done so, people, especially those 80 years old and over, are asked to contact the clinic at 705-461-8882 to have their names added to the list," she explained.

"People at Huron Lodge and Hillside Park will be vaccinated at these retirement homes. For people who live in the community but are unable to get to the Collins Hall arrangements will be made to get them vaccinated as well."

It was originally thought that the Pfizer vaccine, which must be maintained at a very low temperatures prior to use, would not be practical for use in northern Ontario.

In her latest update, Dr. Groh said, "It looks like Pfizer for now but AstraZeneca may be sent to us when it gets approved."

Last weekend on the subject of COVID-19 testing, Dr. Groh said, "The cluster of nine people who tested positive for COVID at (100) Warsaw since January highlights the concern about spread of this disease through multi-residential buildings, especially in Elliot Lake with its senior population.

"Algoma Public Health has asked for testing of people living in multi-residential buildings on Warsaw, Washington, Mississauga and Pine Road, which is currently underway.

"People living in such buildings should take care to follow the advice of public health: social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing. It is important that masks fit well and be worn properly," she urged.

"People at high risk could consider wearing medical masks if these are available. Eye protection such as a face shield offers additional protection in confined spaces such as elevators. Please be safe everyone!"