COVID-19 vaccine
Mikki Layton, interim chief nursing executive at MGH, administers the first COVID-19 vaccine to Brigitte Pascual, RPN at Midland Gardens Care Community.

A historic day in East Toronto: Michael Garron Hospital gives its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care workers

(Dec. 22, 2020) Toronto: Today Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) marked a significant step in the fight against COVID-19 when it administered its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care (LTC) workers in East Toronto.

“After an exceedingly challenging year filled with loss and heartbreak, our teams at MGH are so proud to celebrate this historic day in East Toronto – and to be part of this significant milestone in the global fight against this disease,” said Sarah Downey, president and CEO at MGH. “This is a positive step in a long journey ahead, but it is critically important for our communities to remain vigilant and follow public health measures as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Ontario.” 

MGH was selected as one of 17 Ontario hospital sites for COVID-19 vaccine administration, part of the Ontario Government’s Phase One roll out. The first shipment of doses will prioritize staff and essential caregivers of congregate living settings that provide care for seniors.

Brigitte Pascual

Today, the first initial doses were given to healthcare workers from LTC homes in Toronto’s East End. The first recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine administered at MGH was Brigitte Pascual, Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), who has dedicated the past 10 years to caring for residents of Midland Gardens Care Community.

In May 2020, during the height of the first wave of COVID-19, Brigitte assumed a new position at Midland Gardens: Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Lead. She oversees the COVID-19 surveillance of residents on all five floors of the LTC home and provides IPAC education and training to her colleagues and essential caregivers.

Brigitte joined MGH’s Long-Term Care IPAC Champion Program to enhance her knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 and receive mentorship from MGH IPAC specialists. All 10 LTC homes supported by MGH currently have two staff enrolled in the LTC IPAC Champion Program.

“This is a new disease so in the beginning, there was a lot of fear around the unknown. With this Program, we have calls every week to connect with MGH and IPAC champions from other LTC homes. We exchange ideas, give updates on what’s happening at each of our facilities and talk about preparing for different scenarios,” said Brigitte.

“When I was given the chance to run the IPAC Program [at Midland Gardens], it was a life-changing moment for me. I had some experience working as a nurse, but I’m so thankful for the support of the Champion Program to guide me.”

When Brigitte was given the opportunity to pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine at MGH, she jumped at the chance, highlighting the physical and mental challenges of the past year.

“It’s been a tough time for our residents, but also for our team members who spent such a long time caring for people who have lost their lives to COVID-19,” she said.

“The COVID-19 vaccine really represents a turning point. I know a lot of people who have not seen their loved ones for so long. I’m looking forward to everyone getting the vaccine so families can finally see each other again.”

As per Phase One of the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 Vaccination Implementation Plan, the guiding priority is to give the COVID-19 vaccine to frontline health care workers and vulnerable populations to ensure they are protected. As the supply of available dosages increases and is delivered to Ontario, vaccines will be more widely distributed to communities across the province.

As Phase One progresses, Ontario will continue to monitor the logistics of delivery, reconstitution of the vaccine, clinic management, and post-vaccine surveillance to help inform the province's preparedness plan to receive larger vaccine quantities. MGH will work closely with the East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP) Ontario Health Team and Toronto Public Health to distribute the vaccine more widely to communities across East Toronto in 2021 as quantities become available.

“We are so grateful to our exceptional colleagues who cared for seniors in long-term care homes during this difficult time – and to all health care workers across the system that made personal sacrifices to support the early mornings, late nights and extra shifts to keep our communities safe during COVID-19,” said Sarah.

“We look forward to the day where we can provide all health care workers and our entire East Toronto community with equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine.”

While this marks a major step in the fight against, COVID-19, it is critical that all Ontarians, including those who receive the COVID-19 vaccine during Phase One, continue to wear a mask, physically distance and follow public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

About Michael Garron Hospital
Nestled in the heart of East Toronto, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is a vibrant community teaching hospital serving more than 400,000 people in 21 distinct neighbourhoods. For more than 90 years, MGH has delivered high-quality, patient-centred healthcare services to families along the continuum of care, from welcoming a new life to facing end-of-life. MGH is a leading full-service hospital with strong community and research partners, including the University of Toronto. MGH is an anchor partner of East Toronto Health Partners, the designated Ontario Health Team for East Toronto.    

For media inquiries, email @email. For media inquiries related to Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program, please contact @email

Please note: COVID-19 vaccines are not available to the general public at this time, as per Phase One of the Ontario Government’s Vaccination Implementation Plan. MGH is working with local long-term care and congregate living settings to pre-register eligible individuals for the COVID-19 vaccine. More information will be posted to the MGH website as soon as it is available.

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