ALMONTE – The COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic opened at Almonte General Hospital last week (Feb. 25) and the first front-line workers from Fairview Manor, Almonte General Hospital (AGH), Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital (CPDMH) and Lanark County Paramedic Service received their shots.

As per the Ministry of Health’s vaccination roll-up plan, staff and essential caregivers at Fairview Manor and healthcare workers in the high-risk areas are being vaccinated.

AGH Chief of Emergency Dr. Karen Turcotte receives her shot from CPDMH Chief of Staff Dr. Jamie Fullerton
AGH Chief of Emergency Dr. Karen Turcotte receives her shot from CPDMH Chief of Staff Dr. Jamie Fullerton. Courtey the AGH

Linda Coady was the first staff member to get the vaccine. Coady has worked as a housekeeper at Almonte General Hospital and Fairview Manor for 45 years.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is important to me because it allows me to visit my dad and ensure he is safe. It also helps protect our patients, residents, colleagues, and family,” she said.

Dr. Karen Turcotte and Dr. Steve Walker are the co-leads of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Almonte and also received the vaccination.

“I’ve been eagerly awaiting my turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and I’m so happy today is the day,” Turcotte said. “This pandemic has taken a massive toll on our community in the form of the tragic loss of lives in our long-term care facilities, closure of businesses, unemployment, mental health issues from social isolation and so many other ways. This vaccine provides me with hope that we are moving one step closer towards the end of this pandemic.”

Turcotte is the Chief of Emergency at AGH and Walker is a family physician in Carleton Place who works in the Emergency Department at CPDMH.

“This is an exciting day,” president and CEO Mary Wilson Trider said. “Our teams have been on the front-line of the pandemic and vaccination is an important tool to help keep them safe. It will be wonderful when everyone has received the vaccine – including everyone in our local communities.”

A detailed vaccination plan has been developed that prioritizes staff based on their level of risk and work location. For example, staff members working in the Emergency Department will be vaccinated before staff members who do not have direct contact with patients. Decision-making is guided by the Province’s ethical framework for vaccine distribution.
“Thank you to our colleagues at the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit for their hard work in coordinating the vaccination programs throughout the region.  They have been great partners throughout the pandemic,” Trider said.

All safety protocols remain in place, including screening, wearing of masks, the use of personal protective equipment, and visitor restrictions. For the latest updates about the coronavirus, please visit the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit website at www.healthunit.org. For the latest hospital updates, please visit www.agh-fvm.com/coronavirus and www.cpdmh.ca/coronavirus