The wait for COVID-19 vaccines continues for seniors in eastern Ontario.
On Wednesday, the Ontario government announced that Ontarians aged 80 and older will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the third week of March — although the schedule is dependent on supply.
On March 15, the online booking system and service desk will become available, and people in that 80-and-older age range, or those booking for them, can access it, said Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province’s vaccine rollout.
“They say it should be starting soon, and I think seniors are tired of that,” said Yvonne Boegman, an 82-year-old living in Kingston, Ont.
For Yvonne and her husband Roland, when the news broke in late 2020 that the vaccines were on their way, they began to rejoice — the 10-month drought of not hugging their grandchildren was nearing its end. But when the vaccine supply began to dry up, the couple began losing faith.
“Being away from friends and family and then seeing that we might be getting the vaccine and knowing that it’s around and but not knowing when it’s going to come, that’s extremely frustrating,” said Roland Boegman.
“We’ve had enough. You, know, we can only take so much,” said Yvonne.
The couple says they have attempted to call their public health office about when they could get vaccinated but were told each time “soon.”
The Kingston-area medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, has repeatedly asked residents to stop calling the public health office, pharmacists, or primary care providers about the vaccine as details on the rollout are unclear.
Dr. Moore has said in recent weeks that they have been receiving upwards of 50 calls per day.
“You can understand that anyone over 80 will be prioritized very early on, and then there will be a slow decrease from 80 to 75 to 65, etc…” said Moore on Tuesday during his COVID-19 press briefing.
The Province said on Wednesday that residents will be notified about the availability of vaccines through media announcements, flyers delivered to households and phone calls from health units.
Hillier asked that families and community groups help those 80 and over to book their shots once the website and service desk is active.