The family of a 98-year-old Second World War veteran is wondering if veterans should be given higher priority when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sterling Mercer, 98, fought for Canada during the war and is one of few veterans remaining from that time.

Mercer recently moved into Ridgewood – a veterans long-term care home in Saint John. According to his family, Mercer received generous health benefits from Veterans Affairs before the move.

"It occurred to me reading something in the news the other day, just the story about federal prisoners being provided with federal supply of COVID-19 vaccine by virtue of them being in wards of the federal government or in the care of the federal government," said Mark McElman, Mercer's grandson.

Mark says he understands why the federal government is doing this, but wonders if it can also be done for veterans.

"It would give us a tremendous amount of peace-of-mind and actually, Sterling too," said Mark. "He's very worried about this, you know. It's something that's on his mind."

CTV News asked Veterans Affairs Canada about the vaccine situation surrounding veterans but did not receive a reply.

Health Canada says vaccine deployment is the responsibility of each province.

In a response from New Brunswick's Department of Health, it reads, "We've prioritized locations based on a risk assessment that saw some of the first vaccination clinics at facilities on the border with Quebec and Maine, neighbouring jurisdictions, where significant rates of infection have been reported."

A spokesperson also said vaccines have been going to locations that have suffered from outbreaks of the virus.

McElman says he contacted his member of parliament, Wayne Long, who told him he would check on it.

"He's a 98-year-old veteran who served his country in Europe during the war and my perspective is... that nobody deserves the vaccine more than him," explained Mark.