Dr. Kit Young Hoon leads the vaccination program for the health unit, and she's confident they can meet the province's deadline for long-term care residents.

"We should be able to vaccinate residents by the February 5th deadline," she said, during yesterday's media briefing.

During a briefing Monday at Queen's Park, retired general Rick Hillier -- who leads the province's vaccination distribution -- estimated close to 80 per cent of long-term care homes had already received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and 550 of 775 retirement homes in Ontario had also received at least a first visit, sometimes staff and essential caregivers getting vaccinated, as well. 

Based on the local information she had received yesterday, the medical officer of health for the district agreed the deadline was realistic.

"The staff here have been working very closely with long-term care homes, and now that work has increased," Young Hoon said during yesterday's briefing, as she acknowledged their workload will step up with the roll out of the vaccine.

In previous briefings, the health unit has noted they work regularly with long-term care staff on vaccination programs, as they work to prevent such other viruses as the flu.

In Kenora, the provincial deadline applies to the residents at Pinecrest and Birchwood. However, the deadline doesn't include staff or essential caregivers, nor does it include residents at retirement homes or assisted living buildings. They're also high on the province's priority list, along with First Nations. 

Late yesterday, Ornge air ambulance workers were also helping doses of the vaccine to reach remote First Nations in the Far North, where they'll be distributed by the Canadian Rangers.

For more information:

Hillier says don't despair, when it comes to vaccination program

Self-isolation required when entering Manitoba