Residents and staff at Herb Bassett Home among first to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Photo Courtesy of the Saskatchewan Health Authority Herb Bassett Home resident Muriel Sheldon was one of the first people in Prince Albert to recieve the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Healthcare workers express relief at receiving vaccine, but say there’s still a long road ahead

Herb Bassett Home residents Muriel Sheldon and Dennis McCallum were among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as rollout began in Prince Albert on Thursday.

Testing and assessment physician Dr. Romashnee Moodliar was the first to receive the vaccine, as eligible care home staff also began receiving immunizations.

Prince Albert has now received 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, all of which will be used as first doses.

“I’ve hopeful that it will help us turn the corner, and I’m very fortunate to have been the first one to get it,” Moodliar said. “I hope it will be a good example for others to follow.

“Everybody should do it,” she added. “It’s not painful–no side effects–so I think it’s a good thing.”

While the news is encouraging, Moodliar stressed that it will take time before the community is completely immune.

She urged residents to keep taking normal precautions, like regularly washing their hands and maintaining social distancing.

“By the time we build immunity it’s probably going to be February … so we’ve got to be safe,” she said.

“I think it’s an important milestone in the fight against the pandemic,” added Victoria Hospital chief of emergency Dr. Jamey Samson, who also received the vaccine. “But, we have to keep on washing our hands, maintaining social distancing, and doing all the other things we’re doing to prevent spread for many months to come. Not only do we have rights and freedoms in Canada, but we also have social responsibilities to each other.”

A number of ICU and emergency room healthcare workers also received the vaccine.

ICU registered nurse Michelle Devers has been working with COVID-19 patients in Prince Albert since the start of the outbreak. She’s thankful for the new development, and so are her coworkers.

“My whole unit (in the) ICU’s very excited,” she said. “I’m grateful to be able to get it. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

As of Jan. 7, health care workers have administered 4,832 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The majority of those are Pfizer vaccines.

The government expects to receive 11,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week throughout February.

Moderna will provide 5,400 doses on Feb. 1. That’s a 100 dose increase over what was previously allotted.

On Wednesday, the government announced all remaining Moderna vaccines would be sent to the North East and Far North East zones.

Residents and staff in long term and personal care homes will receives the vaccines first, along with front-line healthcare workers.

Residents who are eligible for vaccines under the current schedule will be contacted by immunization clinic teams to receive further details. Contact methods may vary by community.