Albertans 75 and older, and those living on First Nations reserves and Metis settlements who are 65 and older, will soon be next in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the government’s rollout plan.
Despite excitement from seniors, few details about Phase 1B have been released about how distribution will work, though the premier has said they will be coming “soon.”
Jan Davey, 81, and Al Davey, 84, of Edmonton have been living in independent living at the retirement home Touchmark at Wedgewood for more than a year.
When the first shipment of vaccines touched down in province in December, the Daveys said it made them feel “more comfortable.”
“It gave us some hope that by summertime we would be able to have a family barbecue or something,” Jan said.
The couple’s sons have been dropping off groceries every week and they’ve taken walks around the facility, but the Daveys have effectively been staying at home since March 2020.
“It’s tough because we’re very, very family-oriented,” Jan said.
As they eagerly wait for their turn to be immunized, the Daveys said they are ready and looking forward for it. They’re already planning what they will do once they are fully inoculated against the virus.
“I’m going to get my own groceries,” Jan said with a laugh. “I don’t want to say anything against the boys because they’ve been absolutely wonderful but sometimes we get very, very large, let’s say, cereal boxes. We’ve looked at them and say, ‘Hmm, well, that should last a year.’ Also, in the store, if you’re walking around, you might pick up something that isn’t on your list.”
As for husband Al, he said a trip to the Keg restaurant will be in order; the couple typically celebrates anniversaries, birthdays and other holidays there.
Fellow resident Elizabeth Baker, 92, said vaccines in the province mean there is an end in sight to the pandemic.
Vaccinations for older Albertans, regardless of where they live, will begin after immunizations are complete for long-term residents and front-line healthcare workers.
“They’re going to get us fixed up so we’ll be able to go about our usual everyday living,” she said.
Baker said the pandemic has meant lots of time reading, watching television and “just trying to keep a positive attitude.” But she said she misses getting together with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and is relieved her turn for a vaccine will soon be coming.
“We won’t be quite as in danger of having a serious side effect. If I do get the virus, then it won’t be as bad,” Baker said, who also recalled receiving the polio vaccine when she was younger.
“The first thing I want to do is just hug my kids. That’s what we all want to do – is just be able to be in close contact with them.”
All three say they don’t have a preference for how distribution will work.
“I don’t think it really matters as long as we get it. Whatever way works for them works for me,” Baker said.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Wednesday that more details about the rollout will be shared in “the coming weeks” and added that multiple factors are being taken into consideration.
“For example, mobility issues or access issues, wanting to make sure we’re thinking of the mechanisms of delivery and the supports that individuals might need to make it as easy as possible for them to access vaccine,” Hinshaw said.
As of Tuesday, 58,144 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province.