“It makes you feel like there’s progress in our dismal lives.”
That’s how Bruce Jonasson, a resident of Yellowknife’s Aven Manor seniors’ facility, described getting his Covid-19 shot on New Year’s Eve.
Jonasson was among the first in the territory to get the vaccine on day one of its distribution.
“I fixed it with the head nurse last night that I’d be first,” he joked, saying that way his grandkids would be able to see him in the newspaper.
“It was marvellous. I thought we were going to be waiting much longer and then boom, up it came today,” he told reporters gathered outside Aven Manor on Thursday.
Staff at Avens hope the vaccine is the start of a return to normality. For nine months, seniors’ facilities across the country have been effectively locked down with no volunteers or family visits allowed.
“You’re just locked in,” said Jonasson.
“I quit smoking a long time ago and when I was in purgatory in here a while ago, the only place you can go is the smoking area.
“So now I’ve got to quit smoking again.”
For the people running the NWT’s vaccination program, Thursday’s initial rollout was an important moment and a success. A few people had refused the vaccine, Avens staff said, but most had warmly embraced the opportunity.
“One of my co-workers said it best. She said: We live here too,” said Scott Robertson, one of the staff working to coordinate the vaccine’s rollout.
“Everyone in the North is a big family. It feels like you’re doing something useful and helpful for the people that you care about.”