My hair nearly stood on end Thursday when I heard Premier Doug Ford– in an attempt to justify another lockdown — say they’re “throwing everything at this virus.”
The sheer ridiculousness of another full lockdown aside, I can only say that I wish our political leaders had thrown “everything” at COVID when it comes to our seniors population.
Instead they threw vulnerable seniors under the bus from the very beginning of the pandemic and continue to treat them far worse than I would ever think of doing to my beloved three doxies.
I won’t spend much time reiterating the mistakes made that cost more than 3,700-plus seniors their lives just in long-term care homes alone. That came out loud and clear when long-term care minister Merrilee Fullerton testified before the Long-Term Commission at the end of February.
The iron ring Ford promised to put around LTC homes never happened. The second wave was even worse. I know. I lost my dad during that time.
But his government had time to ram through Bill 218, an outrageous piece of legislation that protects negligent LTC homes in lawsuits brought by families who lost loved ones during the first and second waves.
You would have thought nearly 4,000 deaths would have taught our provincial leaders something.
But the fiascos continue.
It took much pressure to get the Vaccine Rollout Task Force — headed by Gen. Rick Hillier (who left on March 31) — to get vaccines in the arms of vulnerable seniors in retirement and LTC homes.
Doctors on the frontlines repeatedly told me that the rollout was “sluggish” and disorganized. Even though vaccines were available in mid-December, many LTC and retirement home residents weren’t fully vaccinated until last month.
To this day those fully vaccinated seniors — including my own mom — remain in a state of perpetual lockdown.
It’s not enough that they’ve been isolated in their rooms like caged animals for more than a year. No one seems to have the guts to say enough, it’s time to let them roam free.
That’s not the half of it.
There is not a day now when I don’t hear from frustrated seniors well into their 80s and 90s who live in their own homes and won’t get their second dose until late June or July.
We can thank the Justin Trudeau and Ford governments for that mess. Trudeau failed to get a reliable supply of vaccines in a timely manner, forcing him to beg and borrow, even leftover Astra Zeneca vaccines from the U.S.
Ford decided to go along with the dangerous new protocol — declared by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization in early March — that puts four months between the first and second doses
But as studies provided to me are starting to show, those over 80 years of age will only be assured of immunity from COVID after two doses.
To add insult to injury, sources close to the vaccination process have told me that the province’s (and public health’s) unbending adherence to this protocol have left doses unused after those scheduled for a first dose don’t turn up– even as unsuspecting seniors are cruelly forced out the doors of hospitals and arenas when they turned up for the pre-scheduled second dose (the government can’t even get the cancellations right).
Heaven forbid, our highly paid public health officials might use their noggins and allow those who are vulnerable and elderly to take the unused doses.
But given the instructions provided in a 16-page document from the health ministry, who can blame them for not taking that extra step.
MOH spokesman Adriana Dutkiewicz says public health units and vaccination clinics have been directed to put in place processes to fill last-minute cancellations, “no-shows” and end-of-day remaining doses.
But there’s a catch. The available appointments need to be filled with people who are identified as “priority populations” by the province.
“An ethics and equity lens should be applied to all prioritization decision-making,” the provincial document reads.
Evidently ethics and equity — and common courtesy — don’t apply to our most vulnerable seniors.