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UHN has completed the two-stage vaccination process for five long-term care employees who were among the first healthcare workers in Canada to receive inoculations against COVID-19.
The five staff from the Rekai Centres, a pair of long-term care homes in downtown Toronto which are partnered with UHN, were grateful and relieved after receiving their second vaccination on Monday.
"I'm excited, but also glad it's over," personal support worker (PSW) Anita Quidangen said after her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, three weeks after she received the initial one.
Fellow PSW Derek Thompson said: "This is very positive. I think everybody should receive this vaccine for the added protection to yourself and others around you. It's just like a flu shot."
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott were on hand for the event.
"Congratulations to Anita and thank you to UHN for leading the way," Premier Ford said at the vaccination site at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN, where the five Rekai employees received their second dose and several hundred other healthcare workers got their first.
"Everyone helping to administer the vaccines is very anxious, very committed to getting as many vaccines in people's arms as possible," said Minister Elliott. "We're all working together.
"All the healthcare professionals are doing a fantastic job and we're extremely grateful to them."
To date, about 4,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered at UHN. In addition, members of TeamUHN just this past weekend vaccinated more than 1,000 residents and staff of long-term care homes with the Moderna vaccine as part of an unprecedented Ontario COVID-19 vaccination program.
"It's a privilege for us to provide this life-saving vaccine to Ontarians to help end the scourge of COVID," said Dr. Kevin Smith, UHN President & CEO. He thanked the Premier and Minister for visiting the clinic, the vaccine recipients and "an immense number of people across UHN for making this happen.
"We're here to serve patients and we're also obviously here to translate remarkable science into treatments everyday so it's a privilege for UHN to play this role," Dr. Smith said.
Lucky Aguila, a registered practical nurse, said after receiving his second dose: "Hopefully this means it's a better new year for everybody."
Collette Cameron, a registered nurse, Executive Director of the Rekai Centres Sherbourne St. location and second dose recipient, said while vaccinations mark a key turning point in the fight against COVID-19 "there's still a long way to go to get this out into the community even wider."
Cecile Lasco, a PSW, said after receiving the second dose: "I am very grateful to have been included so early in this."