Maritime families concerned elderly relatives haven’t been vaccinated in hospital

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia and New Brunswick introducing more age groups of vaccination'
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick introducing more age groups of vaccination
WATCH: Both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick keep introducing more age groups for vaccination, but families say their elderly relatives, who should’ve been at the top of the list, are being left behind. Travis Fortnum reports – May 14, 2021

Families in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick say they’re worried about their elderly loved ones who have been hospitalized for weeks but not yet given their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

John McKay’s mother-in-law is in her early eighties.

He says she’s been an inpatient at Nova Scotia’s Aberdeen hospital for over two months after suffering from back pain.

Global News has agreed not to publish her name, but McKay says his family is worried about how some of her underlying conditions might affect her chances against the virus, should it get in.

“If she were to get COVID, we’re fairly certain she wouldn’t survive it,” he says.

He says she’s been extremely anxious through her stay – which on one occasion prevented the family from transporting her privately to a vaccine clinic to get a shot.

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READ MORE: COVID-19: Nova Scotia reports 117 new cases, one more death

When the family’s asked why she hasn’t yet been vaccinated in the hospital, McKay says they’ve been told that’s provincial policy.

“When we first requested a COVID shot, I think we naively thought somebody would go get a COVID shot and administer it,” he says.

He says at one point a nurse suggested the family put her into a wheelchair, and wheel her to a pharmacy to get her first dose.

“It’s not a realistic idea,” says McKay.

When contacted by Global News, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness says inpatients are being vaccinated — as of this week.

They say those in the Northern Zone, like McKay’s mother-in-law, should start getting shots next week.

Elsewhere in the province, they say 562 people in hospital have had their shot.

New Brunswick’s Department of Health did not provide information on what the plan for inpatients there is — but Dawn Decoste would like to know.

Her 81-year-old aunt, whom Global News has also agreed not to name, is in the Moncton Hospital.

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“Pretty much once a week I would ask the nurse and they’d say ‘she’s on the list, it’s not here yet, it’ll be here next week,’” Decoste says.

It’s been nine weeks since she entered hospital after injuring her hip in a fall.

READ MORE: COVID-19: New Brunswick reports 15 cases connected to a Fredericton hotel

Decoste says other seniors in her aunt’s ward also say they haven’t received a shot  and the number of people coming and going causes her concern.

“She’s exposed to so many more people than she would’ve been at home,” she says.

Going on to say that the tight COVID-19 protocols in healthcare facilities aren’t enough to put her mind at ease.

Neither Decoste nor McKay blame the nurses or direct healthcare providers for the predicament — but are crying foul nonetheless.

“I think this is something that should concern all of us,” says McKay.

“If we’re going to look after each other through this global health emergency, we have to identify these snags in the system.”

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