Some Canadian snowbirds are still flying south this winter and there are those who are hoping to get a COVID-19 vaccine while they're there.
As Florida continues to see soaring COVID-19 cases, the state is making vaccines available to anyone 65 and older. Getting one, however, may not be as easy as just rolling up your sleeve.
Pam Gabie and her husband Chris spend every winter in the Florida sun.
“This is our 16th winter down here,” Pam Gabie says. “We retired in 2005 and immediately purchased a home in Venice and have been wintering six months of the year ever since.”
The Ottawa couple arrived in Florida at the start of November. They travelled despite the high level of COVID-19 cases in that state.
“In the community that we live in of 1,500 homes there had not been a case registered, so we felt safe enough to make the decision to come here,” says Gabie.
She says they will feel even safer once they get the vaccine. In the first phase of its vaccination program, Florida is offering the vaccine to anyone over the age of 65, along with healthcare workers and those in long-term care.
“What you’re now seeing is hospitals being more aggressive with offering vaccinations to our senior citizens. That’s our top priority at this point,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference on Jan. 7.
That has created a high demand and the vaccine has been difficult to get for seniors like the Gabies
“Makes us feel like we’re 15-year-olds trying to get Justin Bieber tickets,” Gabie jokes.
Each day, a government website in their area releases appointments. The couple has also added themselves to a waitlist with their local County and they check with their local CVS drugstore.
“Three weeks or so we’ve been trying,” Gabie says. “We’re amongst all three of those processes and we’re hoping one is going to hit.”
Gabie says she and her husband have mostly stayed in their community and are hoping to get the shot soon.
“We’re anxious to get the vaccine but we’re also anxious to make sure that the health-care workers and first responders are looked after as well,” she says.