Vaccines offer hope for pandemic’s end, but it’s staff who will get us there

It has been 11 months since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, but 2021 is starting with a sign of hope in the form of two vaccines that have become available in Ontario and are being introduced in phases.

Long-term-care home residents, staff members and essential caregivers are amongst the first in line to receive the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which are being administered in the province’s 14 public health units.

People living and working at several of OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes have now received the vaccine to help protect them from the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

In January, the Ontario government announced that due to delays in shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, all available doses are being directed to the province’s long-term care and retirement communities in an effort to protect the most vulnerable segment of the population.

While the vaccines are the first step towards bringing normality back to OMNI long-term-care home residents and their families, we still have a way to go before things are back to the way they were.

As it has been up to this point, it will be the people working in OMNI’s long-term care homes who will be navigating each home’s journey into post-pandemic times.

The vaccine helps protect immune systems, but it’s the staff members who keep residents’ emotional health strong and spirits high.

And they have done an outstanding job.

With safety precautions in effect, this past holiday season was especially challenging for residents and their loved ones to be separated during what is usually a time for families being together.

But staff members and communities showed tremendous compassion for residents during the holidays, as evidenced by the stories we have published in The OMNIway.

While the vaccine may be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, it has been the passion OMNI long-term-care home staff members have for their work that has kept residents’ quality of life as high as possible.

The value of their service to residents and families during what has been the most challenging year in recent memory cannot be understated.

Their dedication will continue to carry us forward.