In their own words: Edmonton seniors on getting the COVID-19 vaccine

·2 min read

The vaccine rollout for Albertans 75 and up began last Wednesday, and since then, more than 39,000 have gotten their first dose with more than 123,000 making appointments.

This hasn't been without snags. Seniors have reported major issues with booking appointments.

Carillon Cameron, 74, said she got her first dose at Skyview Centre the first day people were allowed to book. She is turning 75 this year.

"It's got to be sheer luck," she said of how she got her dose so quickly. "I had a little team of family members working with me."

Because of the teamwork, Cameron got in that evening at around 6:40. She said she waited in her car until about five minutes before her appointment, and encountered a massive lineup of people when she got out. People were not social distancing, she said, and things were generally chaotic. Cameron's anxiety was spiking.

She said there could have been way better organization with the line outside, maybe someone at the door.

"There was no information or anything I could see about what to do," she said.

Once she got in, it was a different story. Things ran very smoothly and the person who vaccinated her was calm and professional.

"It's an overused word, but … it was all very surreal. We've been thinking about this and dreaming about this and imagining about when the vaccine would happen and then to have it happen that fast, it was quite an emotional experience for me that way."

77-year-old Phillip Raworth just got his first dose Monday. Apart from some nausea, he said then that he was feeling really well.

His booking experience was a little harried as well. He tried for a day to get through online and on the phone, with no luck. With some help from his daughter the next day, he was in.

"It was frustrating, but I expected it to be, so I wasn't particularly surprised," he said.

Raworth said he's lucky because the real line up began after he South Park Centre left Monday morning.

Raworth joked that he has never been more rich, as the pandemic has grounded his usual travel plans. Another potential setback in the COVID journey is that his wife is in the vaccine age category below him, so she won't be vaccinated until later.

"I would have preferred it obviously if she could have got it, then we both would be protected and we could perhaps go off on holiday [to B.C.]," he said. "Perhaps they had their reasons for it."