20 May 2021

Covid-19 vaccine: Elderly Cantabrians gutted by delays

2:58 pm on 20 May 2021

There is disappointment within the elderly community in Canterbury over delays for the vaccine to protect them from Covid-19.

The new Covid 19 vaccination facility in South Auckland

Grey Power president Jan Pentecost says many elderly are confused about the Covid-19 vaccine roll out. (File image) Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

Those over the age of 65 in the region were supposed to receive their vaccination earlier this month, but now would not get it until July.

Grey Power said changes to the vaccine roll out were confusing its members, who had not heard anything about when to get their jab.

Group three, including people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions, become eligible at the end of this month.

However, Canterbury District Health Board said it would not start vaccinating most people in that group until more supplies arrived in a couple of months.

An Age Concern social group of over 65s in Christchurch said they were gutted by the change of plans.

"Well I am very, very disappointed. The government seem to have lost the plot. Disappointed especially for people who have immune problems like I have - who might not last very long," said Paul Jamieson, 71.

Having a vaccine would change a lot for him, enabling travel to Australia to enjoy retirement while he was able-bodied, he said.

"I think it's very poor. We deserve it at our age. It's ridiculous that they have postponed it. The sooner we are covered the better for all concerned," said 88-year-old Lauretta Main.

Meanwhile, Graham Cook, 94, was not too bothered by the delay and did not mind if he was last in line for the vaccine.

"I think we are lucky living where we do when you see what is happening to other countries. It's just a balancing act I suppose as to who goes first. It doesn't worry me, I'm quite happy. If you haven't got supplies - well you just haven't got it," Cook said.

Trevor Rotherham, 98, said some of his family had already had the vaccine and the delays were a let down.

"They should bloody well have it. This government did a good job at the beginning but they are too slow now."

Grey Power president Jan Pentecost said many elderly were confused about the vaccine roll out, and in the meantime some were keeping themselves at home.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said vaccinations would ramp up significantly once more shipments arrive in July.