Last week was a good week for vaccinations in Renfrew County and Barry’s Bay.

Dr. Jason Malinowski, Chief of Staff and St. Francis Memorial Hospital, says vaccinations have wrapped up for very high priority people, with 120 people being vaccinated at the Barry’s Bay Legion last week. People who got their vaccine include pharmacists, volunteer drivers for home support, and first responders. However, he says it’s a bit challenging because there isn’t much warning about when vaccines will arrive. However, once they get the news that they have, they are ready to go with paperwork, location and manpower. Malinowski says when they get vaccines, they are in people’s arms within 24 hours and calls the online booking system put up by the RCDHU very helpful. Most of the vaccines come from Pfizer, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what vaccine you get, so long as you get it quickly.

For Malinowski and many healthcare workers, it’s a relief and an emotional time for many of them. He says if the county does get a third wave, there will be some protection, and to see that protection has been heartwarming. People have been asking questions, which he thinks is great, and are curious about the science of these vaccines’ work. Between Dr. Malinowski and the Madawaska Valley Family Health Team, they are trying to put out consistent messaging that these vaccines are safe.

The next round of vaccine clinics will occur at the Barry’s Bay Legion on Wednesday and Thursday for residents at retirement homes, their caregivers, people over 80, or indigenous people over 55.