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Public health should be more accommodating with vaccine appointments, Sault man says

Busy schedule, unique work conditions complicating situation for Paul Edwards
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While most people are eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and while they patiently wait on the phone for a vaccination appointment, the Sault’s Paul Edwards says he would like to see public health authorities be more accommodating to those who find themselves with busy schedules and unique circumstances.

“Three weeks ago I contacted public health...for an appointment to get a COVID vaccine,” Edwards told SooToday.

Edwards said he was told to call back at a later date (for his particular age group).

Edwards is in his 60s.

“For my age catchment group, I was to call Wednesday (May 5, 2021). I contacted them on Tuesday afternoon because I knew I was going to be busy (Wednesday) when they were receiving calls and requests for appointments.”

“I said ‘I’m not going to be available, can you help?’ They said ‘don’t worry about it, call later on.’ I called Thursday morning. There was a message on the machine saying there were no more appointments and you’ll have to call again later when we have other appointments. It didn’t give any timeline,” Edwards said.

Though others, both locally and nationwide, have expressed frustration with booking vaccination appointments, Edwards said “I’m in a vulnerable situation. I deal with staff who are in direct contact with aged clients (due to the nature of his employment, though he did not state what that employment is), so that’s problematic. I could be a risk of infection to them if I contracted it (COVID). Also, I have medical conditions which exacerbate that risk.”

“I just want to get innoculated,” Edwards said. 

“Vaccine demand continues to exceed supply. More vaccine will be available in Algoma in the weeks ahead, and there will be ongoing opportunities to book appointments next week, as more clinics are added,” wrote Dr. Jennifer Loo, Algoma Public Health (APH) medical officer of health and CEO in an email to SooToday Friday.

“Once higher risk groups have had the opportunity to be immunized (e.g. 70+), the next priority groups will be provided the same opportunity to book. People 60+ will continue to be able to book next week,” Loo wrote.