LONDON, ONT. -- "Yesterday we were on site at one of the Chartwell homes, Chelsey Park. We vaccinated 250 residents of the home there, as well as some staff as well," says MLHU’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Chris Mackie.

It is part of a provincial government mandate that came down Wednesday with a target of 8.5 million people vaccinated in Phase 2. The Elderly will be the top priority as they are the most vulnerable section of the population. 

"The residents at long term care homes are the ones that are at greatest risk of dying," Mackie says. "Getting the vaccine as close to them as possible will help more than anything else in terms of reducing our mortality across the province."

The move leaves local unions for front line workers with mixed feelings, Steve McCaw from OPSEU Local 106 says some of his members which includes Lab X-ray Technicians and Respiratory Therapists are frustrated.

"The focus on Long Term Care makes sense, I think the problem is they were led to believe they were going to get it sooner than they are factually going to get it now."

Mackie said during Thursday’s media briefing he appreciates the willingness to get vaccinated, and wants to get as many front line workers done as quickly as possible but the focus has to be on the Long Term Care homes right now to save as many lives as possible. He also announced which homes the health unit would be visiting over the next few days. 

"We’ll be at Strathmere Lodge in Middlesex County, we will also be at Earls Court Village here in London."

The provincial vaccination plan calls for front line workers and first responders to be next after Long term care residents, along with food industry workers, teachers and construction workers. 

No official timeline on when that will happen has been given.