Renfrew Victoria Hospital COVID vaccine clinic swings into action with targeted groups

March 01, 2021

Dr. Ronald Lavigne gets the COVID-19 vaccine 

Dr. Ronald Lavigne has been waiting anxiously to get his first shot, as many of the patients he sees at Groves Park Lodge will soon be getting second shots. RVH nurse Sue McLaughlin administered his Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 


There was a buzz of eager anticipation in the air early Sunday morning for the launch of Renfrew Victoria Hospital’s first COVID-19 vaccine clinic. As the first patient successfully completed the process, a spontaneous round of applause broke out!

Dr. Angela Varrin, the clinic’s lead physician, shared that over the last year, working in the ER, during nursing home rounds and in her family practice, she has witnessed how the pandemic has affected every person in our community. 

“I have seen the fatigue, the anxiety, the stress and the bravery in the stories and on the faces of my co-workers, colleagues and patients. Today, however, is about hope. Although we still need to persist with physical distancing, hand hygiene and wearing a mask for a bit longer, today marks a day of change. The vaccine arrival is a turning point and every day from here on in is a step toward protecting our community and allowing us to come together again. I'm so glad this day has arrived!” said Varrin.

A lot of time and effort went into the planning and preparation of the clinic site.

“My thanks to the small but mighty team that prepared the site. They worked tirelessly, seeing to every major and minuscule detail to ensure a smooth process, and to the many volunteers who will man the clinic in the days and weeks ahead—these folks really rose to the occasion,” noted Julia Boudreau, RVH CEO, adding that “We are very fortunate to have the infrastructure available to support safe, timely vaccinations. The location at 100 Health Village Lane lent itself very well for the purpose.”

A joint effort between RVH, the long-term care homes and the Renfrew County and District Health Unit, the February 28 clinic was the first for groups in the hospital’s catchment area that have been prioritized to receive the vaccine at this stage of the rollout. The first group includes
long-term care staff, essential caregivers for long-term care residents, priority retirement homes and health care workers.

“Our organizations have worked cooperatively over the last year, planning for and responding to each new phase of this pandemic, so it’s not surprising that we’re pulling together again for this historic step. We are so pleased to be supporting our long-term care partners in protecting their staff and caregivers, and look forward to continuing the rollout of vaccines across our catchment area,” said Boudreau.

Bonnechere Manor Director of Long-Term Care Shelley Sheedy also acknowledged the teamwork that has taken place across our region.

“One of the silver linings of this pandemic is how collaboratively our local health care organizations have worked together. The vaccine clinics are no exception and so it is with appreciation that the RVH, RCDHU, Paramedics and Manor team have effectively worked together to get our staff and essential caregivers vaccinated as safely and quickly as possible.”

Marianne Moseley, a PSW at Bonnechere Manor was excited to receive the vaccine on a personal and a professional level. “Both of my parents are immune compromised, so they can’t go out. We’ve kept to a bubble and I help them a lot, so I’m very happy to receive the vaccine today.”

But she quickly noted that she will continue to be cautious, “The vaccine won’t change what we do. We will still need to be careful and hope that once everyone is vaccinated it will be safe.”

Dr. Rob Cushman, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit said vaccine shipments are now arriving quickly and Renfrew County is well prepared.

“What impresses me most about the vaccine rollout is the commitment, collaboration, and ‘can do’ attitude from the entire health sector. This is priority one, to protect the public and bring the pandemic to an end, and everyone is putting their heart and soul into it. On behalf of the people of Renfrew County and District, I thank you.

For more information, please contact:
Julia Boudreau, CEO,
Renfrew Victoria Hospital & St. Francis Memorial Hospital
613-432-4851, ext. 260