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'Light at the end of the tunnel,' PSW gets first vaccine at Southlake hospital in Newmarket

Robin Dowdall, a personal support worker from River Glen Haven Long-Term Care Home in Sutton, Ont. was the first person to get the immunization in Newmarket
2020-12-23 vaccine ASH-1
Robin Dowdall, a personal support worker from River Glen Haven Long-Term Care Home gets the shot at Southlake hospital.

COVID-19 vaccinations began at Southlake Regional Health Centre on Wednesday.

The first person to receive the shot at Southlake's vaccine clinic was Robin Dowdall, a personal support worker from River Glen Haven Long-Term Care Home in Sutton, Ont. 

“I’m excited to be getting this vaccine. We’ve been waiting for it," said Dowdall. 

"We’ve been doing everything we can to keep COVID out of the home. By getting the vaccine today, I’m protecting residents at the home, as well as my family, until they are able to get vaccinated themselves.”

Southlake was one of several hospitals around Ontario to receive the first distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer, which is the first immunization against the coronavirus to be approved in Canada, although more candidates, such as one made by Moderna, are expected to be approved in the near future. 

Newmarket Mayor John Taylor, local MPP and provincial Health Minister Christine Elliot, and local MP Tony Van Bynen were all on hand to see Dowdall get the first dose of vaccine.

“I am pleased to see the first COVID-19 vaccines being administered at Southlake Regional Health Centre. Vaccines save lives and are an important tool to end the pandemic. I am proud that all levels of government have worked together as quickly as possible to start to get Canadians vaccinated," said Bynen.

Southlake has set up its immunization clinic inside its seniors centre. The hospital will be working with its partners to immunize long-term care workers, designated caregivers, and hospital staff from across York Region in the coming days and weeks. 

Elliot said that choosing the hospital in Newmarket made a lot of logistical sense. 

"We’re excited to continue partnering with Southlake Regional Health Centre as they expand the use of the seniors’ centre to now provide COVID-19 vaccinations. The centre offers an ideal location, close to the hospital and centrally located for those long-term care home staff who are being vaccinated in this first phase," said the local MPP.

"Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Southlake has gone above and beyond in their efforts to care for patients and families in our community. Watching one of our health care heroes, Robin Dowdall...become the first person in our community to be vaccinated reminds us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light grows brighter with every vaccine administered."