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COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Powell River

Willingdon Creek Village staff and residents first to receive shots
Laurie Norman Powell River
PANDEMIC PROTECTION: Willingdon Creek Village long-term care facility care aide Laurie Norman [left] receives Powell River’s first COVID-19 vaccination from Melissa Hindle, registered nurse coordinator. There is a systematic rollout of the vaccinations, making sure the most vulnerable, and those who help them, are first to receive the vaccine. Paul Galinski photo

Powell River’s first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have arrived and are being administered.

On the morning of January 13, workers in the Willingdon Creek Village long-term care unit were being vaccinated, with residents to also receive the vaccine.

Laurie Norman, a care aide at Willingdon Creek Village, was the first to receive her shot. After being vaccinated, said she was “super grateful” that people were being vaccinated.

“I’m excited for everybody that things are on their way up,” said Norman. “Everybody has been trying to do what they can to stay home when away from work and to use all of their protective equipment when they are at work.

“It’s been hard for our staff because we want to keep everyone, and each other, really safe. That is the most important thing. That’s why we’ve been so successful.”

Norman said her vaccination was the first layer of protection against COVID-19 and is a positive beginning.

Mélie De Champlain, director – coastal community of care at Powell River General Hospital, said the hospital was very excited.

“Yesterday (January 12) the shipment arrived and I was having butterflies,” said De Champlain. “I’m excited because our team here in Powell River has been at the forefront in fighting the pandemic.

“To see the light at the end of the tunnel is meaningful.”

De Champlain said vaccinations will be carried out over a number of months, but what is happening at the hospital complex now is the beginning of the resolution.

“This is bringing a lot of hope to the staff and to me as the director of the site,” she added.

De Champlain said the goal was to vaccinate the staff and residents of Willingdon Creek Village the first day. The following day, plans were to vaccinate the staff and residents of Evergreen Extended Care Unit. Following this will be physicians with patients in long-term care. With the remaining vaccine, efforts will be made to vaccinate emergency staff, intensive care unit staff and staff who are working in the hospital in the COVID-19 unit.

The hope is to receive shipments of the vaccine every week, so it’s just the beginning of the work, said De Champlain.

She wanted to mention that staff members in the Powell River hospital complex have been showing up every day and it hasn’t been easy for them. She said being a health-care worker in this time of the pandemic is a sacrifice and she wanted to recognize the great efforts of those who are working long hours, assuring they and their patients are safe.

“Today is about the beginning of seeing some hope that things are going to shift,” said De Champlain. “The pride that is felt is very strong. People in Powell River should be very proud of their health-care workers.”

Manager for long-term care in Powell River Iwan van Veen said it was an exciting day. He said the staff had been working diligently within the conditions required during the pandemic since March.

“Vaccinations are the first and the very important step to get out of that,” said van Veen. “I’m very happy that we were fortunate to get the vaccine to Powell River and to get it all in place so quickly.

“So far, we have not had a single case of COVID-19 into our buildings, which is due to our staff, which is working hard.”