Prince Edward Island’s first vaccinations bring ‘momentum change’ in COVID fight

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There was a round of applause and a few tears at Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday as Prince Edward Island administered its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
There was also a huge smile on the face of the Chief Public Health Officer of Prince Edward Island, although you couldn’t see it under his mask.

The Chief of Nursing for PEI Said she wanted to dance.

“It’s a great day to celebrate,” said Marion Dowling.

Three people received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to kick off the vaccination campaign: Dr Chris Lantz, home doctor in several long-term care homes; Heather Arsenault, resident worker at the Garden Home in Charlottetown; and Debbie Lawless, registered nurse at Garden Home.

Lantz said he felt as excited as a 10-year-old boy on Christmas morning.

“It’s a change of momentum in this fight against the virus. We’ve been on the defensive for so long, that it feels good now to be on the offensive and not back down against the virus. . ”

Debbie Lawless, a registered nurse at a retirement home in Charlottetown, receives one of the first doses of Prince Edward Island’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. (Kirk Pennell / CBC)

This was the first of 1,950 initial doses of the first stage of the PEI vaccination campaign.

It was a proud moment for Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Public Health Officer of Prince Edward Island, who has appeared before Islanders almost daily for the past nine months to provide updates. and advice throughout the pandemic.

“I just couldn’t take the smile off my face, you couldn’t see it under the mask but I wanted to put my arms up and say ‘well done.’ ”

He’s hidden under his mask, but there was a big smile on Dr Heather Morrison’s face on Wednesday. (Kirk Pennell / CBC)

Each vaccinated person will need to receive a second dose 21 days later to make the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine fully effective.

About 200 people are expected to receive their first vaccine on Wednesday, and the vaccination clinics set up Thursday, Friday and Saturday are expected to be able to handle more.

Morrison said they hoped to get the most vulnerable groups vaccinated by the summer.

‘An honor’

Lawless said she became emotional when Lantz asked her to be one of the first to receive the vaccine, and that emotion continued on Wednesday after receiving her dose. She said her mother was watching a live broadcast from a nursing home in Nova Scotia.

“It’s quite an honor,” she said. “I hope everyone is also excited. ”

The first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Prince Edward Island on Tuesday, with the vaccination campaign starting Wednesday. (Kirk Pennell / CBC)

Arsenault said the vaccine gives him hope that people will eventually be able to see their families.

“I have a son in Alberta and a daughter in Montreal and I hope they can come home next summer. ”

Health Canada said research suggests this vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 from one week after the second dose.

An online poll conducted by Narrative Research and released Wednesday suggests Islanders are increasingly open to the vaccine.

The survey found that 84% of respondents in Prince Edward Island were either ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ planning to get the vaccine once the COVID-19 vaccination becomes widely available to the general public, against only 71% responding in the same way when the question was asked in September.

It won’t be for a while; health workers and vulnerable populations such as the elderly will take priority first.

Prince Edward Island has confirmed 89 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began more than nine months ago. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations in the province.

Learn more about CBC PEI

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