COVID-19 vaccinations in Montreal and Quebec might be ramping up, but several seniors who went Monday to get their second injections found out that their appointments were cancelled.
“They refused,” said 80-year-old Jacques Duval, who went to get his boosters shot at the Dollard-St-Laurent Sports Centre in LaSalle.
“We have to come back in June.”
Norman Stamp, who brought his 91-year-old mother-in-law for a 10:20 a.m. appointment, said he saw many seniors over 80 who found out their appointments were cancelled.
“I would probably say there were 20 people in line this morning when we got here at 10 o’clock,” he told Global News outside the clinic.
Diane, who didn’t want to give her last name, brought her 95-year-old mother. She pointed out that it wasn’t easy getting the elderly woman prepared to leave the house.
“I can understand if they’re very busy,” she acknowledged. “But a 95-year-old! To get her out of her house, get her prepared — I think people seem not to understand how hard it is.”
She claimed she didn’t get a notification telling her that her mom’s appointment was cancelled and claimed she even tried to confirm it.
“We tried to reach them for the last three days,” she explained. “Could not reach them.”
Seniors over 80 were also getting turned away at the Bob Birnie arena vaccination site in Pointe Claire and they said they weren’t notified either.
People who had appointments for second doses Monday got their first vaccine shot on March 1, the day mass vaccinations began in the province. Three days later, the province decided to stretch the delay for second doses from three months, which would’ve been Monday, to four months.
In an email to Global News, Hélène Bergeron-Gamache , spokesperson for the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Ouest-de-l’Ile-de-Montréal, which oversees both vaccinations sites in LaSalle and Pointe Claire, wrote that her organization did call people to let them know about the change.
“Our teams called back the 2,000 people who had already been inoculated to give them a new appointment date for their 2nd dose, which respected this new deadline,” she wrote in French. “Note that we have made up to three attempts to reach the people concerned.”
Still, dozens of people went to at least those two sites saying they got no notification.
They were given a new appointment for June 21 and see what happened Monday as a breakdown in communication. The seniors and their caregivers hope it doesn’t happen again for the sake of those who have to struggle.