Innisfil man wants answers after isolating for almost a year
INNISFIL -- An Innisfil man is asking the province for more transparency with the vaccine rollout after being forced to isolate away from his wife and son for almost a year.
Among other things, Greg Waghorne has a heart condition, chronic lung issues, and has battled cancer. He is severely immunocompromised, and contracting COVID-19 could be deadly. His wife cannot work from home or isolate with him because she works on the assembly line of a nearby factory.
"Our doctor basically told him, 'you can't be around your wife or your son if they're working,'" said Greg's wife Teresa on Tuesday. "It's just too risky."
So in March, Greg moved up to his cottage in Mattawa, Ontario. He has been living there since.
"Everybody at first assumes that it's glorious because the cottage is great and north is great, but I've gotta tell you, after about three weeks, that starts to rub off, and you start to feel...really alone."
Afraid to go into grocery stores, he meets his wife in Gravenhurst, two hours away. She loads groceries into the trunk of his car while he sits inside. They also Facetime each other every night.
"It's lonesome. It's hard for him," said Teresa. "He doesn't like being alone, and you know...we miss each other."
Greg lost his job because of the pandemic, and Teresa adds that paying the bills for both properties on her salary is a strain.
When the vaccine arrived in Ontario, both Teresa and Greg were eager to find out when he might be eligible, so he could then move back in with his family. But Greg struggled to find answers.
Phase one of Ontario's rollout plan prioritizes health care workers in hospitals, long-term care homes, and remote indigenous settings. Phase two prioritizes seniors, essential workers, people living in high-risk settings like shelters and community living, and home-care patients with chronic conditions.
Because Greg isn't a senior, isn't in a long-term care home, and doesn't receive home-care, he's afraid he won't be eligible to receive the vaccine until September, with the rest of the population.
"I one hundred per cent feel that I've fallen through the cracks or people aren't understanding the situation that some of us are in," Greg said.
Greg wrote to Premier Ford and his local MPP but didn't receive clear answers.
CTV News reached out to the Ministry of Health. Instead of answering CTV's specific questions, the Ministry provided a general statement which says phase two, set to begin in March, will focus on "individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers."
"I find that answer very vague," said Greg on Wednesday. "I'd say it's more frustration in the details. I'd love to get more clarity on what that means," he added. "But it's much better than hearing right now that I might be in September."
CTV News also spoke with staff at local family doctors' offices. They say they have not yet received information from the province on vaccine rollouts for their patients.