Vaccinate retirement home residents before it's too late, says family

·2 min read

News that residents in Ottawa's retirement homes will have to wait longer to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a blow to the hopes of Monic Dubé.

"We have to accept it, but it's very disappointing," said Dubé. "I feel like the system is failing us."

In late-February 2020, Dubé's parents 88-year-old Yvon Dubé and 87-year-old Madeleine Dubé became the first residents of the newly opened Promenade Seniors' Suites and Retirement Residence in Orléans.

Two weeks later the first COVID-19 lockdown was initiated, and since that time Dubé and her parents have been desperately waiting for some good news.

"Waiting for this vaccine has been very frustrating, because if they get COVID, that's it. They're both gone," said Dubé.

Dube's parents have underlying health conditions so they could be at an increased risk of severe complications should they contract COVID-19.

Madeleine has been diagnosed with vasculitis, an autoimmune disease, and in October Yvon was diagnosed with leukemia.

His treatments now require he spend blocks of seven consecutive days at the hospital, thereby putting him at potentially higher risk of getting infected, said their daughter.

"He keeps asking, 'any news about the vaccine?' If he gets COVID, it'll be too late for him," she said.

Remaining doses going to LTC residents

During a virtual news conference Wednesday, the city's general manager of emergency and protective services confirmed Ottawa is receiving fewer vaccine doses than planned, and he expects even fewer doses over the next few weeks.

Anthony Di Monte also said who is in-line to receive the remaining doses the city currently has in stock.

"Our first priority will be those [residents] in long-term care [facilities] who got their first dose," he said. "We want to make sure they get their second dose in the time frame that has been identified."


Asked when the city plans to get the vaccine into retirement homes, Di Monte said residents there, and their families, will have to be patient.

"I think that's going to be a challenge until we start seeing a significant amount of vaccine arrive," he said.

Di Monte added the city will provide a detailed update on the vaccination rollout during a technical briefing scheduled for Monday.

Dubé said in the early stages of the pandemic, she was often angry about the situation her parents are living through, but she now feels sadness and sense of helplessness.

"We all have to be patient, because getting angry and getting frustrated is not going to help us," said Dubé.