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

Supporters gather outside GraceLife Church near Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The church has been fenced off by police and Alberta Health Services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

GraceLife Church and its pastor, are charged for holding services that break health restrictions

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

File photo
A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Alberta meat plant, site of COVID-19 outbreak last year, to get vaccination clinics

Nearly half of the 2,200 workers at the Cargill facility contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died last April

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, left, Grand Chief Arthur Noskey, centre and Chief Aaron Young during a meeting with First Nations Chiefs and Grand Chiefs in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta must retract Forest Act before it becomes law: Treaty 8 grand chief

‘We are asking (the government) to pull this back and consult with us,’ says Arthur Noskey of Treaty 8 First Nations

A cross made out of hockey sticks at a makeshift memorial is silhouetted against the setting sun at the intersection of a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., on Monday, April, 9, 2018. A virtual tribute is planned to mark the third anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VIDEO: Humboldt Broncos team to be honoured on third anniversary of fatal bus crash

16 people died and 13 were injured when a semi-trailer ran a stop sign into the path of the hockey team’s bus

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Stettler’s own Renegade Station is kicking off the spring season with a brand new single - to be released April 9th. (Photo submitted)
A brand new single is on the way from Stettler-based band Renegade Station

Free Free Free hits all streaming platforms on April 9th

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau waits for a virtual meeting to begin with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa, Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa mulls exempting more workers from Canada-U.S. border shutdown: Garneau

Canada-U.S. border has been closed to people travelling for vacations and other non-essential visits since March 2020

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls: Statistics Canada

Figure released this morning outpaced the 259,000 gain seen in February

FILE - This file photo dated July 10, 1947 shows the official photograph of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, Lieut. Philip Mountbatten in London. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. (AP Photo/File)
Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16

Campbell River city council will continue its 2020 policy of waiving late fees and NSFs. (Mirror File photo)
53% of Canadians teetering the brink of insolvency: survey

A majority of Canadians admit they’re just $200 away from not being able to pay their monthly bills

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney faces criticism from doctors, his own caucus, over new COVID-19 health rules

Alberta now has more than 10,000 active cases, about 43 per cent are variants

Most Read