Beginning in March, many seniors who received a first dose were arrested with canceled second injection appointments and re-booked 16 weeks later – a practice that has become common given supply issues.
Jack and Mim Pinkus had this experience firsthand. Days before their chance to be fully immunized, the Pinkus received a confirmation email that the date was on, but they still wanted to make sure everything was in order.
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“We thought we better check it out,” Mim said. “Sure enough, our son checked, and he said there was a failure and the appointment was canceled.
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The couple said living through the pandemic has been a struggle. The idea of getting both doses was the light at the end of what was a dark tunnel. The Pinkus haven’t set foot in a store for over a year, relying on their children to bring them groceries and medicine.
“We’re so used to going and being with people,” Mim said. “Thank goodness we have things like Zoom, but it’s like we’re in jail.”
“We were originally named as the most vulnerable section of the population,” said Jack. “After our first shot, it looks like they’ve completely forgotten about us.”
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Jack and Mim are not alone. Many seniors have been caught in the same situation. Some people have dates for the second date, others are still waiting to know when it’s their turn.
Medical experts including Dr. Peter Juni, scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Table, said the province must now begin to rethink how and when second doses will be administered.
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With the increase in supply, Juni said the loop for second hits needs to be closed for at-risk seniors, essential workers and others with health problems.
“These people and people living in together communities actually get their second dose of the vaccine very early on,” Juni said. ” [This should happen] maybe before moving on to 12-14 year olds. We just need to make sure that part is covered. “
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Emergency physician Dr Lisa Salamon said immunization clinics should also be given more freedom to manage their vaccine supply and be allowed to pivot appropriately to deliver second doses when it makes sense.
“Some of these people waited two and a half, three months without a second dose. We need to look at these groups and we need to make it easier, ”said Salamon.
“We have to be able to have permission to say if you have the capacity, so go ahead and do what you think is right as an organization in your area.”
Jack and Mim will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary in August.
They hope to have a little more of their life before the pandemic by then so they can celebrate with their families.
“We hope that by some miracle we can get a dose sooner and start living again,” Mim said.
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