Scarborough Health Network (SHN) has received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine, and began administering doses on December 22. This is an exciting moment for our community and gives us hope for a healthier future.

Following a successful pilot of the process at University Hospital Network and The Ottawa Hospital, SHN was included in a list of 17 health care organizations that would carry out the first of the province’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan.

“SHN has put in a lot of hard work and preparation to get us to this point, and it is with great joy and pride that we are now able to begin distributing the some of the first doses of the vaccine in Ontario. Scarborough has been severely impacted by this pandemic and our ICUs are seeing more COVID-19 patients every day. Our priority is to do everything we can to keep our community safe” said Elizabeth Buller, President and CEO of SHN.

On the first day, vaccines were being given to frontline workers from long-term care and retirement facilities across Scarborough.

The first recipient was Vernet Dehaney, a personal support worker (PSW) who has been with Scarborough’s Kennedy Lodge long-term care home for 31 years. During the pandemic, Vernet has worked on Kennedy Lodge’s Main South unit, improving the lives of those she has cared for. Her vaccination was provided by SHN’s Dr. Elan Ambalavanar, an Emergency department physician.

The vaccine was administered at SHN’s Centenary hospital, which has been set up as Scarborough’s first COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Vaccination is an important step to a post-pandemic future with efficacy rates of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at 95 per cent effectiveness.

“We must remain diligent in the next weeks and months to keep our family, friends and neighbours safe. We must continue following public health guidelines until everyone who wants a vaccine, especially out most vulnerable, are vaccinated.” said Ms. Buller.