RENFREW COUNTY –The Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) says it expects to finish phase one of its vaccination program by mid=March but there is “uncertainty” related to the COVID-19 vaccine’s availability.

The RCDHU provided an update on the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine yesterday (Feb. 3). The RCDHU says to date 396 local residents have received COVID-19 vaccines.

Acting medical officer of health with the RCDHU, Dr. Robert Cushman, says the uncertainty of vaccine availability and distribution continues.

As part of phase one of the vaccine roll-out, COVID-19 vaccinations will be provided to residents, employees, staff and essential caregivers in settings that provide care for seniors, First Nation communities and to adults who receive chronic home health care.

Dr. Cushman says it’s difficult to forecast, but the county should get enough vaccines to get through phase one by the middle to end of March. He says he would love to be wrong, but “we need to be prepared for these delays.”

Cushman says while it’s frustrating, they’re asking residents be patient and will release information on timelines and vaccine rollout as it becomes available.

The local health unit continues to work with key community partners, to involve them in the local planning and implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Cushman says this will ensure staff are ready to administer vaccinations quickly once vaccine becomes available.