Aida Madridejo's respiratory medical issues have in the last year left her working from home, popping out for groceries as few times as possible, and wearing a mask and sanitizing as often as she can.

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Aida Madridejo's respiratory medical issues have in the last year left her working from home, popping out for groceries as few times as possible, and wearing a mask and sanitizing as often as she can.

However, Madridejo recently received the COVID-19 vaccine, and she is not shy about telling others what to do once their turn comes.

"Everyone should be getting it," said Madridejo, an adviser and financial officer for the Filipino Seniors Group of Winnipeg.

Aida Madridejo: "Everyone should be getting it." (Supplied)

Aida Madridejo: "Everyone should be getting it." (Supplied)

"I'm well known in my community. Since I got it, I've been calling my friends; I posted it on Facebook — it's not scary. It's for your own good."

Madridejo is part of a club of 91,687 Manitobans, whose membership is growing each passing day: they have all received either the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine. A further 44,642 have also had the required second dose.

On Monday, the province said it has again dropped the age eligibility for inoculation: now 65 and older for the general public, 45 or older for First Nation people.

It also said more doses are on the way, with 42,120 Pfizer and 12,300 Moderna doses expected to arrive this week.

There is also another priority list for vaccine recipients: 50 to 64 years, who also have a high-risk medical or disability.

Madridejo has both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

"I'm at risk," she said. "I called my family physician (to see) if they are vaccinating and they booked me in. I feel it is better to be safe than sorry."

Murray Sinclair got his first dose of the Moderna vaccine in January and his second a month later. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Murray Sinclair got his first dose of the Moderna vaccine in January and his second a month later. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Murray Sinclair has worn many hats, but it is his shirt sleeve he has now rolled up twice.

The 70-year-old former provincial court associate chief judge, Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench justice, Canadian senator, and chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, got his first dose of the Moderna vaccine in January and his second a month later.

"My wife and I drove out to Peguis (First Nation) to get it," said Sinclair. "We qualified under the Indigenous health initiative. They had us on a list of elders."

Sinclair said it was also part of an awareness event to encourage other Indigenous people to get the vaccine.

"Given the harm that is prevented, the minor reactions are well-worth it." — Murray Sinclair on his body's reaction to the vaccine

"It was really important to us to get the vaccination," he said. "I was still a senator when the vaccinations came in (he retired Jan. 31), but I waited until we were called by the reserve. We did a bit of a production there to let people know the vaccine was safe."

Sinclair said both his wife and he had minor reactions: she felt fatigued for a day after the first shot, while he slept for most of the 48 hours after his second.

"Given the harm that is prevented, the minor reactions are well-worth it," Sinclair said.

Cecilia Oduro (Supplied)

Cecilia Oduro (Supplied)

Cecilia Oduro, a nurse and member of the African Communities of Manitoba, admits she made a conscious choice when she got the vaccine at the end of January.

"You can say no, but I chose to get it because I knew the vaccine has proven it helps you build immunity against the COVID-19 virus," she said.

As a nurse, she encounters many people every day, so she wanted to protect herself, not only to stay healthy but also to continue caring for people.

"It saves lives — it could save your life," she said.

"If you get (the virus), your chances of dying is higher. The older you are, the more your body is compromised. But even younger people can get it."

"It saves lives ‐ it could save your life." — Cecilia Oduro

Coun. Shawn Nason (Transcona) got his first shot last week, but being a Winnipeg city councillor wasn't what got him toward the front of the line.

"It certainly wasn't my age," said Nason. "I'm in the high-risk medical needs category.

"I've been concerned about getting (COVID) and I'm not in my 70s or 80s. We had a conversation at city hall a few weeks ago about the vaccine and Jay Shaw (assistant chief of emergency management) said to us, don't worry — if your turn comes, just get it."

Nason said, given his respiratory medical conditions, he has been extremely cautious the past year.

"I've been very careful," he said. "But you can't live in fear. I use hand sanitizer. In fact, the hardest part, as a politician, is not handshaking. It is so natural to do, but you can't.

"I want to raise awareness with getting the vaccine if you have a high-risk medical condition: there is a list — if you get the call, get the shot."

Margaret Ward lives at the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg and was one of numerous residents who contracted the virus during an outbreak in December. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Margaret Ward lives at the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg and was one of numerous residents who contracted the virus during an outbreak in December. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Margaret Ward has not only been vaccinated, she has been a firsthand witness to the impacts of COVID-19.

Ward, 82, a resident at Convalescent Home of Winnipeg, was one of numerous residents who contracted the virus during an outbreak which started in December. Just a month later, 18 of the facility's 84 residents had died and 63 had contracted it.

"I got the shot because I felt it was the right thing to do," said Ward, who had recovered by the time she got her first dose Jan. 19 and her second Feb. 11. "Not only for myself, but for my family. I want to be able to get out again and see our beautiful country and spend quality time visiting with family.

"I feel like I am just putting in time now, waiting until we all have been vaccinated and can get back to more normal living."

Ward said her message is the same: "Get the shot. I see this as the only way for all of us to regain our lives again."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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