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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Residents at Saskatchewan long-term care facilities relieved to get COVID-19 vaccine

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More than 40 per cent of long-term care residents in the province have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Some facilities in Saskatoon have already received their second dose of the vaccine, including Sunnyside Care Centre, where staff tell Global News vaccine rollout has been a success.

Ninety-one of the 92 resident have now received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Garnet Chambers, 68, said he feels great.

“I had very little reaction at all, people said you could get a little bit feverish or you’d have body ache, I had none of the above,” he said.

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He added his arm was very sore after receiving his second shot on Monday, but otherwise he said he feels fine.

Chambers has been at Sunnyside for seven months. He tells Global News he and many of his neighbours have been eager for the vaccine.

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“It’s a big load off everyone’s mind that’s a resident here,” he said.

“For the staff too because they were always very scared about coming in contact with somebody even though they were very restricted in what they did at home.”

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Roy Fletcher, 72, said he’s looking forward to socializing more.

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For a while, residents at the centre were mostly confined to their rooms for their safety after an outbreak at the facility.

“It makes the cabin fever a little bit worse,” Fletcher said.

Now residents can leave their rooms when wearing masks, he said, and gather in very small groups; but it’s not mingling like before.

“When we leave our rooms (now) we have to wear masks,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to the time when we can be in larger groups and not have to worry about the masks and everything but that’s a fair ways down the road yet.”

Waiting game for changesEven with most residents at the facility vaccinated, families still won’t be able to visit indoors except for certain instances, and most things for now will stay the same.

“Unfortunately right now this is added protection but it doesn’t really change a whole lot as to health orders out there right now,” explained administrator Randy Kurtz.

Margaret Zaporozen, 84, said she’s waiting for her 90-year-old husband — who isn’t at the facility — to also get vaccinated.

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“He’s waiting to see when he can get his, I hope it’s soon,” she said. She said she hopes to see him this summer for his birthday.

Sunnyside said it hopes families can visit patients outside once the weather warms up. It also raised money to buy a wheelchair accessible bus, arriving Tuesday, which staff plan to use to take residents on outings and get them out of the facility.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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