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

The Gulls Stadium is still under construction, and much of the season is still an unknown, especially the duration. (Photo Courtesy of TD Aerials - Central Alberta)
Sylvan Lake Gulls expecting huge financial impact

The Gulls inagural season is going to be impacted by the pandemic, and changes to the

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

File Photo
FCC report shows opportunity in changing food and beverage trends

Canada’s food and beverage sector may emerge even stronger in 2021

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read