Les Downing is slated to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday at a pop-up vaccine clinic in Virden.
The housebound 99-year-old Second World War veteran has been waiting for this day for weeks. Although he has long qualified for a vaccine, he has been unable to make the trip to the Brandon supersite at the Keystone Centre from his Virden home.
He can’t drive anymore, has congenital heart disease and gets out of breath easily, daughter Donna Downing said, speaking on behalf of her father, whose hearing disability prevents him from holding a phone conversation.
It also follows an appointment made last week, which was cancelled by the health authority.
"I’m grateful they’re coming to the small towns," Downing said, adding although she’s happy to see her father receive the vaccine, there might be other housebound seniors who aren’t able to travel to a pop-up clinic and might require a home visit to get the jab.
Even her father will face difficulty getting to a pop-up clinic in his hometown.
"He’s going to probably have to go in a wheelchair and so on and so forth because there’s been no planning to go to the house," she said, adding although it’s "better than nothing" and she’s thankful he has a friend who can help him make the trip, it will be exhausting for him.
"The best would be for him to have it in his own home, where he doesn’t have to be transported in a wheelchair and wheeled in and wheeled out."
Planning an expedient vaccine rollout for which supply is constantly at odds with demand must be "exhausting" for any health authority, Downing said.
"The whole thing to me, personally, speaks to massive systemic nightmare — not simply in Manitoba."
Based in Alberta, she said she has faced her own challenges in receiving a vaccine.
The Sun reached out to a provincial spokesperson for insight on whether home visits are being considered, and they issued the following written statement in response:
"Manitoba has a number of options for people to get their COVID-19 vaccine and, as we have said, nothing is off the table. At this time, we are also focusing our efforts to immunize as many people as quickly as possible."
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