A year later, the freedom brought by the vaccine has not died out, according to Montreal’s first recipient

It’s been exactly a year since Gloria Lallouz, 78, received a special invitation: to be the first person in Quebec to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

It was an event that changed her life, and possibly that of all her neighbors at the Maimonides Geriatric Center in Montreal, where she lives.

“The vaccine – well, there was hope,” Lallouz said this week. “It was the underlying word, ‘hope’, that things could be under control.”

This first blow also ultimately offered tangible rewards of the most valuable kind, namely the ability to see her children again after months confined to her room during the lockdown, and to socialize with others at her home.

Eventually, Lallouz was shot right after a woman from Quebec, who was officially the first in the province.

To mark the first anniversary, administrators of the Central West Montreal Health Authority, which oversees the Côte-St-Luc Institute, held a ceremony Tuesday with residents and their families.

It was a celebration of how the arrival of the vaccine transformed the quality of life for residents and protected them from serious illness or death. But it also prompted a lot of thinking about how life was, at least in 2020 – the fear and isolation of that year.

“Today, seeing the residents, it made me very moved because we have the impression that we are returning to a kind of normalcy,” said Lucie Tremblay, director of nursing and vaccination at the health region.

The rally, which was held in a large hall in Maimonides, was an unthinkable type of social event before the development of vaccine passports.

“It’s very moving to see the residents and staff in the room together,” said Jennifer Clarke, who runs a support program to empower seniors.

The vaccination program turned everything upside down for the geriatric center.

During the first and second waves in Quebec, Maimonides sometimes experienced significant outbreaks of COVID-19, as did other retirement homes.

Now, says Tremblay, although they are still seeing sporadic cases, there have been no outbreaks in the past year.

Those who fell very ill and died of the disease were recalled by the speakers, as were all affected families.


But it was impossible to ignore the current climate of COVID-19. The Omicron variant and its presence in Quebec communities has been a subject of frequent discussion.

Tremblay, who is now very busy overseeing recall appointments and vaccination centers, said the ceremony was “a reminder that we’re not exactly out of. [the pandemic]. “

Indeed, while the majority of Maimonides residents have received their third dose as recommended, many more who are eligible appear to be dragging their feet, infectious disease specialist Dr Donald Vinh told CTV.

“We know of older people who haven’t received their third dose or who don’t even know they are supposed to get a third dose,” Vinh said.

“If these people think that two doses adequately protect them and come into contact with other people recently exposed at work and school, you can imagine that this would lead to transmission” or even possibly create a super-spreader event, he added. .

As scientists attempt to determine just how virulent Omicron is, there now appears to be a broad consensus that the variant is highly contagious and “has spread like wildfire”, in other countries, Vinh said.

“I think what we need to do is not assume that Omicron is mild or benign. I think what we need to do is say that at the end of the day it’s SARS-coV-2, ”he said.

He will behave, he explained, the way he has behaved since the virus first appeared. It will infect and spread, and in doing so it will make some people very sick and may increase hospitalizations.

He said vigilance is required and he urges everyone who is eligible for a third dose to get it immediately.

“Don’t pick up, don’t wait,” he said.

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