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When we last checked in with community health nurse Susan Cuperfain, none of her homebound patients had been vaccinated.

That was during the third week of March.

Despite all the talk of vaccine clinics and the rhetoric about reaching out to vulnerable people, the visiting community nurse said Friday–nearly a month later — that other than one patient, none of her caseload has been vaccinated at home so far.

That patient, she says, was scheduled this past Thursday for the EMS pilot program — a program that sends paramedics into homes to give the shots.

The appointment came after a two-month wait, she said.

Cuperfain works for an agency she prefers not to name treating chronically homebound patients who need IV chemotherapy or palliative care in North York. For 20 years she has been going into private homes, apartments and retirement homes.

Although most are physically unable to go to a mass clinic to get the shot, she said Friday a few patients (obviously out of desperation) went with their portable oxygen tanks, wheelchairs and caregivers to vaccination clinics.

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“It’s a segment of our vulnerable who are forgotten,” she told me last month.

A minister, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, said he’s “beside himself” because he has congregants who can’t leave the house and appear to have fallen through the cracks.

He’s been told EMS will eventually come out to vaccinate these people but he wonders why people have to “go through all these hoops” to get a vaccine our politicians tell us we must have.

“Unless you have a big blowhorn (nothing gets done),” he said.

Ditto for a reader who e-mailed me Friday evening to say her 87-year-old mom — who is homebound because of various medical, cognitive and mobility-related reasons–hasn’t been vaccinated either.

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“I continually reach out to the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and they inform me she is on the list with thousands to be vaccinated by the EMS,” she said, noting that she was also told the paramedics need to respond to 911 emergencies first.

We all know how busy EMS workers can be, especially in Toronto.

Yet here we are in mid-April facing a draconian lockdown like Ontario has never seen with politicians yapping non-stop about the need to get vaccinated.

Don’t get me started on the lockdown’s outrageous measures and the over-the-top fear mongering.

After spending two weeks in my dad’s hospital room last November — while he battled COVID — my perspective is very different.

I took all the proper precautions and thankfully did not get COVID.

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But can you imagine if I’d be too afraid to visit him and say good-bye. If that experience taught me one thing it is that I won’t be ruled by fear.

Dineen Robinson, acting superintendent for public information with Toronto Paramedic Services, confirmed that a pilot was commenced on March 10 to administer vaccinations to vulnerable homebound patients in Toronto.

She said it involves the collaboration of Toronto police services, University Health Network, Sinai Health, Ontario Health and the Toronto-area LHINs.

She said to date (more than a month after it started) more than 1,500 clients have been provided in-home vaccinations through this partnership, 600 of them by paramedics.

She noted the at-home vaccinations can be accessed through primary care providers, the home care services providing ongoing care to patients or through Toronto Seniors Helpline (416-217-2077).

In fairness to Dineen, her explanation was thorough. But 1,500 vaccinations in more than a month is nothing to write home about.

Perhaps all these partnerships are just making the process far too cumbersome and bureaucratic. When the LHINs are involved, well that spells red tape from the get-go.

If the paramedics are far too busy to give the shots, send in student nurses or assign a medical team for two weeks just to get this forgotten part of the population vaccinated.

It’s not rocket science.

But it is yet more proof that the vaccine rollout in Ontario has been an unmitigated disaster.

SLevy@postmedia.com

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