Sims: London retirees’ path to COVID safety is thru Leamington

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Like all of us, London retirees Bruce and Gail Brown had many pre-pandemic plans in 2020, including their son’s wedding and trips to Ireland and Cuba.

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Jane Sims Bruce Brown from London with his wife Gail Brown will travel to Leamington on Monday to get their COVID-19 footage much earlier than would be possible in London. (Mike Hensen / The London Free Press)

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Like all of us, London retirees Bruce and Gail Brown had many pre-pandemic plans in 2020, including their son’s wedding and trips to Ireland and Cuba.

They’ll finally be traveling a bit next week, and I’m a little jealous of where they’re going.

It’s not as exotic as the Caribbean, but on Monday they’re making a two-hour drive southwest to Leamington and its Walmart pharmacy for their first COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We’re going down there for lunch or something,” Bruce said. “Then go in and get poked.”

Bruce, 68, was the legal director of the London Police Department until he retired in 2017. Gail, 66, retired from her librarianship with the Middlesex Law Association a year later. Aside from Bruce Asthma, they are both active and healthy.

Many seniors like her, 60 years and older, understand that age and time speak against them when it comes to COVID-19. You choose not to wait for appointments to open at home and take advantage of the provincial pilot program in the Windsor, Kingston and Toronto areas for the Oxford AstraZeneca inclusion.

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I look forward to the Browns. There is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving town, especially after the province eased the program’s age bracket last week. Previously, there was a more cautious approach due to controversy over possible rare side effects that limited the vaccine to people aged 60 to 64 years.

New votes of confidence prompted the province to open it up to all over 60-year-olds. I assume that London pharmacies will be added shortly.

Having more needles in your arms is a good thing and it brings us closer to the end. I wish the anti-mask crowd and post-secondary school parties would cool it down so we can get there.

And I wish those who can get a shot would. In particular, I am thinking of people who work in long-term care.

Five institutional outbreaks were reported in the Middlesex-London Health Unit area on Tuesday, four of them in nursing homes where residents, for the most part, have been fully vaccinated for weeks. The problem was unvaccinated staff. Across Ontario, 52 nursing homes have broken out, but 45 of them have no cases of residence.

Alex Summers, the Associate Medical Officer of Health, has always been the diplomat last week when we talked about the unsung heroes who “have worked like dogs for a year” to protect our most vulnerable people.

However, the shortage of vaccinated staff is serious enough. There are plans to bring Moderna cans to nursing homes soon for residents who still need it and for employees “who for some reason didn’t make it to the mass vaccination clinic”. As an incentive, protocol changes could result in vaccinated employees bypassing uncomfortable rapid tests before work.

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I’m confused why these people haven’t rolled up their sleeves yet. Yes, I have a little vaccine envy. I will wait for weeks.

The Browns are proactive. They decided to do so over the weekend as soon as the age groups opened up and a retired police officer told them about his experience of his shooting in Essex County.

“Gail and I both felt that the sooner we could get a vaccine, the better,” said Bruce. “It didn’t take much thought at all. We just decided to do it. “

Her family doctor’s advice was also helpful: “Whatever vaccine you can get, get it as soon as you can get it.”

Bruce said he started looking for dates on Monday. He first checked into a pharmacy in Stoney Point, but the vaccine was no longer available. So he called and ended up at the Leamington Walmart, where he could both register online.

You look forward to it. You have a young grandson that you would like to hug. Her youngest son’s wedding has been postponed to October.

And they just want to have a good meal in a restaurant.

You will happily walk through Leamington first.

“We’re getting into the fine weather now and will likely have an ice cream cone on the boardwalk and make a day out of it,” said Bruce.

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