Wellington Terrace long-term care staff vaccination rate at 77 per cent

ABOYNE – Staff uptake of COVID-19 vaccines at the Wellington Terrace Long-Term Care Home is slightly better than the province-wide average and much better than alarmingly low levels reported in some regions.

Wellington Terrace administrator Sue Dronick told Wellington County council on March 25 that about 77 per cent of the facility’s staff have had a first dose of the vaccine.

“We currently continue with our campaign to help staff with any safety concerns or any medical questions, or any kind of hesitancy around receiving the vaccination,” said Dronick.

She noted management is working through “personal contact, answering questions (and) being available,” in an effort to ensure staff members have sufficient information about vaccine safety.

She added that with staff vaccinations, Wellington Terrace is “adhering to the new timelines” from the province regarding an increase in the allowable interval between doses, from 28 days to up to four months.

“So it will be some time before many will have that full vaccination,” said Dronick.

Councillor Mary Lloyd, who chairs the county’s information, heritage and seniors committee, told Dronick, “We’re so proud of the work that you’re doing and your staff in keeping our residents that live at Wellington Terrace safe.”

A March 25 CBC report indicated the provincial government estimates 74% of long-term care workers across Ontario have received one vaccination dose.

A study done by the news agency indicated an average of only 65% of long-term care staff working in Ottawa long-term care homes have received vaccinations against COVID-19.

Outbreaks among LTC staff in other areas have sparked calls for mandatory vaccination of all staff, something Ontario’s long-term care minister Merrilee Fullerton has said is not currently under consideration.

“I was really pleased with the fact that our staff are at 77 per cent,” said councillor George Bridge.

“We’re hearing stories about some of the other long-term care (facilities) being at 50 per cent and having the residents have to go into outbreak because staff have tested positive, and residents are stuck in their rooms.”

Bridge commended county CAO Scott Wilson for sending a letter to staff encouraging them to get “proper information about vaccines” in an effort to encourage uptake.

Bridge, chair of the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health board, said due to rising case numbers he is pleased to see council taking a cautious approach to opening facilities, despite the region’s recent move from red to less-restrictive orange status on the province’s COVID-19 framework.

“I’m glad to see that we’re moving slowly forward,” he said.

“Because unfortunately, I’m starting to see the numbers inch up and I wouldn’t be surprised if we might not have to go back to red sometime before this month or so is over with, just before we get the vaccines out there.”