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Area seniors lodge resident vaccinations could start this week

Four COVID-19 resident cases recovered, Olds lodge on outbreak status until Jan. 8
MVT stock Sam Smalldon
Sam Smalldon, chief administrative officer of Mountain View Seniors' Housing, says Alberta Health Services said to prepare for vaccinations. File photo/MVP Staff

OLDS - Residents in all four Mountain View Seniors' Housing (MVSH) lodges could start receiving their voluntary COVID-19 vaccinations as early as this week, say officials.

At the request of Alberta Health Services (AHS), MVSH has provided information on all residents and staff at the lodges in anticipation of vaccinations getting underway soon.

“We have been contacted by AHS to prepare for vaccinations,” said chief executive officer Sam Smalldon. “We have been asked for resident and staff information to be sent to AHS for what they indicate is for a vaccination process that will begin at early as January. And we have complied with that request.”

Exactly when the vaccines will be given to lodge residents is not known, he said. 

No vaccinations had been administered as of yesterday.

The news that vaccinations are pending comes as the four residents in the MVSH lodge in Olds who had tested positive for COVID-19 last month have now recovered, Smalldon said Monday, noting the lodge is expected to remain in outbreak status until Jan. 8.

There are currently no active COVID1-19 cases in any of the four MVSH lodges, he said.

While lodge residents will be vaccinated at the lodges, staff may be given their shots at the facilities or somewhere else, he said.

“We believe the vaccine will come to the residents but AHS will contact our staff directly for their vaccine,” he said. “That would be for all our residents at our four sites.”

All vaccinations of residents will be on a voluntary basis, he said. 

“My understanding is the AHS have indicted that vaccinations are a personal choice,” he said.

For lodge residents who are unable to make decisions regarding their own health, such as persons with advanced Alzheimer's, the decision on whether to receive the vaccine will be made by authorized persons.

“The decision maker would be the guardian or the trustee,” he said.

Smalldon could not say which of the COVID-19 vaccines will be administered at the MVSH lodges – there are currently two vaccines being administered in Canada: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Vaccinations at other long-term care centres in Alberta got underway last week.

The start of vaccinations in this region will be welcome news for residents and staff alike, he said.

“It’s kind of the beginning of a solution,” he said. “We know that vaccines need to be taken to be effective and we know that immunization does not prevent the virus. We understand that it prevents how sick you would get if you got the virus.”

Safety protocols now in place at all four lodges, including masks and hand sanitization, will continue.

“We will continue to follow all the orders of the CMOH,” he said.

Bethany Care Society spokesman David Ghoris said resident vaccination clinics are scheduled to take place at Didsbury Bethany this week, and employee contact details have been  provided to AHS.