Many rural seniors are having to travel a long way to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Stettler residents are being told to go to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose. (Black Press file photo).

Many rural seniors are having to travel a long way to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Stettler residents are being told to go to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose. (Black Press file photo).

Rural central Alberta seniors have to travel far to get vaccines

Stettler residents are being directed to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose clinics

A 100-year-old senior was told recently to travel to Camrose to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the absence of any local clinics in Stettler.

But enduring an hour’s drive twice to get two doses of vaccine is simply not feasible for her, said Jan Richardson, a relative who also lives in Stettler.

Richardson noted it would be a great ordeal for her husband’s aunt, who hasn’t left her house since September.

The Stettler centenarian instead intends to wait to get her two doses of vaccination until a local clinic opens.

Richardson wants Alberta Health Services to know that not all seniors who live outside of lodges or nursing homes are able to travel a long way to get inoculated against the coronavirus.

Seniors are already at high health risk during this pandemic, and expecting them to leave their communities means putting them at higher risk to get vaccinated, Richardson added.

“These aren’t just numbers, they are real people — and it impacts their caregivers too, who have real lives and have to spend the whole day driving them.”

Related:

-Dentists want to help give vaccines in Alberta

-Vaccinations ramp up in several provinces

Richardson and her husband live near his aunt and help her to continue living at home. A home care worker also comes to assist a few times a week.

Richardson doesn’t understand why Stettler’s home care workers, pharmacists — or even community health nurses that give out other kinds of vaccinations — aren’t being given the authority to vaccinate people against COVID-19 locally in Stettler.

AHS stated on Tuesday that plans are underway to open immunization clinics in Stettler and Consort “in the coming days, when more vaccine becomes available.”

According to AHS, there are now 67 active AHS immunization clinics located in a mix of facilities across the province. “AHS is making every effort to allow individuals to receive the vaccine as close to their residence as possible. However, in some areas, travel may be required.”

Wendy Kossowan, of Stettler, recently helped her 83-year-old father, who uses a wheelchair, drive to Camrose to get his first shot.

The trip was a little hard on him, she admitted, but it went smoothly because the weather was mild, the roads were clear, and the appointment was booked for a Sunday.

Kossowan or her brother will be making another trip out to Camrose to help their father get his second shot. And this appointment is scheduled for a Thursday, so it will be more tricky to get time off of work, she added.

Kossowan is more concerned about how her 85-year-old mother-in-law, who has a “phobia” of travelling, will get the vaccines. She’s hoping that AHS will soon open a clinic in Stettler.

AHS affirmed that’s the plan when more vaccine becomes available — and more supply is expected to arrive soon.

“We anticipate having all Alberta seniors age 75 and older immunized by early April.”

AHS is also discussing future options, including distributing vaccines through community physicians “or the use of large-scale mass immunization clinics.”

In the meantime, seniors who need transportation can call 211 for available options.

AHS states people who are immobile and unable to make arrangements to get to a vaccination clinic should discuss with their families and health care providers what additional arrangement can be made.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

vaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
Town of Ponoka makes changes to monthly tax payment plan

Ponoka town council has approved changes to the town’s monthly tax payment… Continue reading

Katherine Swampy
Maskwacis chiefs are opposed to RAPID Response

Alberta Treaty 6 First Nations say they were not properly consulted

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Most of Canada’s current vaccine suppliers are already testing new versions against variants

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among other encouraged ventilation measures

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Alberta is set to join three other provinces in exploring the feasibility of small modular reactors as a clean energy option. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Four provinces to sign memorandum of understanding to explore small nuclear reactors

Alberta government said in August that it would enter into the agreement to help diversify its energy sector

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a box containing doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, April 7, 2021. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
EXPLAINER: What’s known about COVID vaccines and rare clots

These are not typical blood clots – they’re weird in two ways

Most Read