Troubling video shows vaccine-eager seniors lining hallways at Vaughan hospital

By Irene Preklet, Lucas Casaletto

Imagine booking an appointment to get your COVID-19 vaccine, being told it would be about a 10-minute process and then having to wait an hour and a half; that’s exactly what has happened to some in York Region.

On Monday, seniors looking to get vaccinated at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital faced a lineup that stretched through several hallways.

In a statement to 680 NEWS, Vaughan’s mayor said there has been a great deal of public interest in vaccines for this priority group (80+). He added that the success of the online registration and ongoing demand to be vaccinated is “proof that the city’s efforts are working.”

“Vaccines are here, they are safe, effective and our best hope for bringing this pandemic to an end. As supply becomes available, York Region is prepared and ready to bring vaccines to all those who want them, in priority order,” said Maurizio Bevilacqua. “We ask the public to be patient with the process. We have a plan, we have a structure of how to implement that plan, but it is all contingent on receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. Working together to get support from the community and all levels of government has been key in our fight against COVID-19.”

680 NEWS has reached out to Cortellucci Hospital for comment and has not heard back.

 

According to Bevilacqua, future appointments will be available “once capacity allows and vaccine supply is available.” Area residents in the vaccination age group are being encouraged to check the region’s website often for updates.

“I remain confident that by working together and supporting each other, we will emerge stronger,” Bevilacqua said.

This incident comes after a similar one on Monday, when York Region residents were forced to wait outside in line for a COVID-19 vaccination at a mass vaccination site for residents 80 years and older in Richmond Hill.

Michelle Stebbing told The Canadian Press that she waited in line for her parents as they stayed warm with her sister in a car parked nearby.

She said her parents were more fortunate than others because they had two children who could help them book their vaccine appointments and hold their spots in line.

“There should be some sort of sign-in where you leave your phone number or something and then you can be in your car,” said Stebbing, who added that she was relieved her parents would be getting their doses of the vaccine.

York Region’s medical officer of health Dr. Karim Kurji told 680 NEWS they’re considering this a learning experience.

“We definitely don’t want people waiting out in the cold. We have now got busses available to keep individuals warm where the caretakers can potentially lineup,” said Kurji. “We all really are saddened by these particular experiences. They definitely aren’t our intent. We are all taking steps to correct any lapses with respect to planning and you will see things improve and improve as we go forward.”

Halton Region is also now offering online booking and vaccinations for everyone 80-and-older ahead of the provincial rollout on March 15 when the online booking portal is slated to go live.

The Ontario Dental Association issued a statement confirming registration for the COVID-19 vaccine is now open to dentists in Halton, Durham, and Hamilton.

In Toronto, various hospital sites are at different stages of opening registration and pre-registration.

Durham Region will also open up its bookings next week with appointments starting on Tuesday.

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